It’s prom and graduation party time in Connecticut. And it’s also the time when many of the best Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys get calls from parents who want to know if it’s legal to serve alcohol at a prom or graduation party.
Short answer: It’s not.
And it’s not legal to let the kids bring their own alcohol to your house, basement, pool house, or anywhere else on your property. Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich Connecticut police are stepping up underage drinking law enforcement during prom and graduation party time, and if you’re not careful, you could find yourself arrested for a felony, as well as publicly shamed and humiliated online and on Google with arrest reports and mug shots.
For many years, Connecticut police and prosecutors tolerated drinking parties where Stamford, Darien and Greenwich Connecticut parents took keys and made sure the kids drank alcohol safely and under supervision. The thought was well-intentioned: the kids are going to drink anyway, so they may as well do it with a bit of parental supervision.
Of course—as always—a few bad apples ruined it for the bunch. The top criminal lawyers New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut are well aware of the spoiler cases—vicious assaults and fights at the parties, with serious, life-threatening injuries for the victims, sex assault and date rape accusations, and nasty DUI / DWI accidents.
As a result of Connecticut parents continuing to provide, serve and encourage alcohol drinking parties, the Connecticut legislature passed “social hosting” laws in 2015, making it a misdemeanor crime under C.G.S. 30-89a to fail to halt possession of alcohol in your home by anyone under 21. This law was ground-breaking as it now imposed an affirmative duty—essentially strict liability—on Connecticut parents to make sure that no underage drinking took place in your home. It also allowed police to arrest parents for what they should have known or should have done to stop the possession and consumption of alcohol in their home. A grossly unfair and subjective standard.
The crime of Social Hosting / Failure to Halt Possession of Alcohol under CGS 30-89a is a Class A misdemeanor in Connecticut, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, fines and probation. For more on specific defense strategies for fighting social arrests in Connecticut, click here.
The more serious charge that Connecticut party-busting police are now hitting parents with is the recently enacted Class E felony of Providing Alcohol to Minors under CGS 30-86. If police believe a Connecticut parent has purchased alcohol for a minor, then you can be arrested in Connecticut for this felony charge of providing alcohol to a minor.
All the police need is a verbal confirmation from a minor or parent to make this arrest—they don’t any more evidence than that. No proof of the alcohol purchase is needed for an arrest. So if you’ve been arrested for Providing Alcohol to a Minor under CGS 30-86, then follow this link to learn more about this law and how to get your arrest dismissed, taken offline and off Google.
Attorney Mark Sherman and his team of Connecticut criminal lawyers have been advising Connecticut public and private schools on student and parent safety for over 15 years. Attorney Sherman is frequently invited to speak with parent and student groups—especially in the Spring—to advise them of the risks and dangers of underage drinking parties, developments in social hosting laws, and the legal risks and liabilities that social hosting exposes students and their families to when problems arise.
So if you have questions or if you or your child have been arrested for social hosting / providing alcohol to minors in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan or anywhere in Connecticut, give the Mark Sherman Law Firm a call today. Our certified former client reviews speak for themselves. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.