The Putnam Examiner

With Teenage Holiday Parties Abound, Tips for Parents

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With the holidays fast approaching, Putnam CTC is offering the following tips when it comes to Teenage Holiday Parties:

As parents of teenagers attending a party…

■ Know where your teen will be and for how long he/she will be there.

■ Contact the parent of the party-giver. Confirm that a parent/adult will be home and supervising the party. Make certain that no alcohol will be served. Offer assistance.

■ Know how your teen will be getting to and from the party.

■ Discuss how your teen would handle a situation where alcohol was available at a party.

■ Make sure your teen knows what time he/she is expected home.

■ If your teen is staying overnight at a friend’s house after the party, verify with the friend’s parents that your child will be staying over and that they will be home.

As parents who are hosting a party for your teen…

■ Set ground rules before the party.

■ Decide what part of the house will be used for the party.

■ Limit party attendance and times.

■ Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

■ Make sure at least one and preferably several parents-adults are present.

■ Do not allow party guests to come and go.

■ Avoid easy access to alcohol in your home. If necessary, lock up your liquor.

■ Notify the parent of any teen who arrives drunk.

What is a parent’s liability for hosting a teenage party where alcohol is present?

Criminal: If a parent hosting a party allows a teen to bring alcohol into their home or provides alcohol to a teen, that parent has committed the crime of unlawfully dealing with a child, a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the sentence ranges from one year in county jail to a three-year probationary sentence, fines and/or conditional release.

That parent can also be charged with the Social Host Law, which is has been enacted in every town and village in the County. This law only requires that the parent know of the party and that teens are drinking alcohol. This, too, is a class A misdemeanor and can result in a fine plus response recovery costs (a parent is liable for the expense of the response by a public agency or agencies to the incident; which can run into thousands of dollars)

Civil : A criminal conviction can place restrictions on your freedom and give you a permanent record. But the consequences of your actions do not end there. Your civil liability of hosting an underage drinking party can be costly. Under civil law, you can be held liable for any damage caused by a teen who has become intoxicated at the party you are hosting, if you know alcohol is being served, or if you provide alcohol at the party. If an individual dies as a result of an intoxicated minor, you could face a wrongful death cause of action. Simply put, you could lose everything!


Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

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