Tips for Parents
Seasonal Student Issues #14
Summertime often sets the scene for celebrations, some of which include alcohol. It's a good time to be aware of social host liability laws, which Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) describe as "laws that hold individuals responsible for underage drinking events on property they own, lease, or otherwise control." Those responsible can be parents, landowners and tenants. MADD goes on to say that, "Unlike laws that prohibit furnishing alcohol to youth under 21, social host laws focus on preventing underage drinking on private property without regard to who furnishes the alcohol. Their focus is on the venues in which underage drinking takes place rather than on the furnishing of the alcohol."
Social host liability can apply in situations when underage drinking occurs at your house, even if you aren't home. If someone is injured at a party hosted at your home, these laws can kick in, too. Older siblings or relatives need to be aware of these dangers as well so they can make smart choices.
Unlawful social hosting is a crime in 24 states and can result in civil lawsuits against hosts in 33 states. Violations may result in civil or criminal fines, prison terms and monetary damage awards, depending on the jurisdiction.
So, during this time of life when your student is still living with you, either full- or part-time, keep social host liability issues in mind. Let your student know what the consequences to you could be, should he decide to host a party at your house while you are gone. And think carefully about allowing underage drinking at your home. The outcome could be dangerous — and potentially lead to legal troubles — for those involved.
Prepared for our institution by PaperClip Communications, www.paper-clip.com.
Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424