Picture this: You and your partner are enjoying dinner at your favorite restaurant and savoring quality kid-free time together. Meanwhile, your teenager invites friends over and they bring alcohol, marijuana or other drugs into your home to share. Perhaps your kid generously opens your liquor cabinet and they help themselves to your favorite booze.
Believe it or not mom and dad, according to Host Laws, you are guilty of an unintended crime. Your home is host to underage drinking and drug use. Even though you didn’t give permission and you weren’t home, according to the law you are guilty. What’s more, if your teenager is over 18, he or she can also be arrested and charged as an adult. (See “5 Warning Signs Your Kid is Using Drugs”)
Police Tracking Your Teen’s House Party
How do the police know that underage drinking or drug use is happening in your home even when you’re away? It’s easier than you think.
Teens are tech savvy and love to show off. Well, thanks to social media, the police can know without even leaving their desks. Teenagers frequently post announcements or photos of friends drinking and drugging at parties. Most police departments troll for such information, and officers are sent to the address.
Partying teenagers aren’t known for being discreet. A phone call from a neighbor or a store owner with a noise complaint is all it takes to bring the police to your house to investigate.
Visible Signs of a House Party in Process
Multiple cars in your driveway, blasting music, all your house lights on or your front and back door open, all broadcast loud and clear that there is a house party in process. The police can shut down the party and wait for you to come home to
Legal Consequences of Host Laws
SocialHostLaw.com reports that a father in Connecticut warned his kids about drinking alcohol at a party at his house over Thanksgiving weekend. They didn’t listen. When the police arrived the father was charged with 44 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and received $110,000 in fines. Though the case is still pending, it’s a real eye-opener and illustrates the serious legal consequences that parents could face.
Here are five outcomes that could happen when the police arrive at your kid’s party when you’re not home:
- You will be cited or arrested with a criminal Social Host charge, which is likely to be a misdemeanor.
- If the teens are drinking your liquor at the house party, you could also be charged with “Endangering the welfare of a child” and “Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.”
- For each teenager, you are charged a count which result in more fees or jail time. A second offense could mean facing up to a year in jail.
- If any teen is injured or dies on your property, you could face felony charges.
- Teens and even minors can be charged as Social Hosts, resulting in school suspension and lost of college acceptance or scholarships. If convicted, they could have a permanent criminal record.
Laws vary in states, counties, cities, and communities. For more details check out SocialHostLaws.com to see the laws in your area. And if your kids have a house party, don’t leave them unsupervised.