Connecticut Social Hosting Lawyer
As the best Connecticut criminal lawyers can confirm, there’s a movement among cops and prosecutors to start aggressively enforcing social hosting laws that punish parents and teenagers from hosting underage drinking parties at their homes in New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich Connecticut, as well as other small Connecticut towns. While this issue is typically a suburban problem, it remains a hot topic of conversation among Connecticut lawmakers, politicians and prosecuting attorneys. What is happening is that teenagers are over-indulging at these Connecticut underage drinking parties, consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol, drugs and marijuana, then leaving these parties and either drunk driving, fighting, or posing a risk to themselves or third parties. Campus police at UConn, Fairfield University, Yale University and Quinnipiac are also taking the same pro-active approach in enforcing CGS 30-89a social hosting laws, arresting college students for serving alcohol to students under 21 (click here to read more about fighting Connecticut college and university arrests for 30-89a Social Hosting).
Regardless of where your arrest is at college or in your Connecticut suburban town, the bottom line is that a social hosting felony or misdemeanor arrest can be devastating to your career and reputation. So if you have been arrested in New Canaan, Darien or Greenwich Connecticut for Social Hosting, or providing alcohol to minors, then you should contact a top Darien and New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyer to learn how to get your Social Hosting arrest dismissed and expunged as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
What Is Social Hosting?
Connecticut lawmakers seem to be on a mission to make Social Hosting laws as tough as possible. As the best New Canaan, Wilton and Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers would advise, there are two categories of social hosting laws that police may choose to charge you with: one is a felony, the other is a misdemeanor. The felony charges for providing alcohol to minors under CGS 30-86 prohibits you from knowingly and intentionally providing alcohol to a minor. This Connecticut felony arrest applies to anyone who purchases, pours, or personally serves alcohol to minors under 21 (follow this link for an in-depth discussion on fighting Connecticut 30-86 social hosting arrests).
The misdemeanor social hosting law in Connecticut can be found under CGS 30-89a. This law prohibits homeowners from knowingly, or recklessly not knowingly (but should have known), that minors are possessing alcohol in their home, or knowing that minors were partying in their house but failing to make reasonable efforts to break up the party and halt such possession of alcohol. As top New Canaan, Wilton, and Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers have noticed, when you start arresting people for what they should or should not know, laws like this Connecticut 30-89a crime can cast a wide net and can jam up the parents and homeowners. Essentially, this overbroad law gives carte blanche to New Canaan, Darien, Wilton and Westport police to arrest you not for what you knew was going on in your home, but what you should have known or should have done to stop the underage drinking party. So if you are arrested for 30-89a Social Hosting or CGS 30-86 Providing Alcohol to Minors / Social Hosting, you need to consult with a top Greenwich or Darien Connecticut criminal lawyer to make sure you were not over-charged by cavalier officers trying to make an example out of you and your family.
How Serious Are Social Hosting Arrests in Connecticut?
Unfortunately, social hosting arrests are extremely serious in Connecticut, as the penalties for both felony arrests for CGS 30-86 Providing Alcohol to Minors and misdemeanor arrests 30-89a Social Hosting carry jail time and large fines. The former 30-86 Providing Alcohol to Minors crime is classified as a newly created Class E felony, carrying a maximum 18-month jail sentence. The latter misdemeanor social hosting 30-89a charge is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a maximum one-year jail sentence. With either charge, you must answer your charge in Connecticut Superior Court and work with your top Stamford or Norwalk Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney to get your charges dismissed, hopefully without entering into any plea bargain. Additionally, if there were children under 16 at the Connecticut underage drinking party, you could be arrested in New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich or Wilton Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor / Child Endangerment under CGS 53-21, a Class C felony carrying a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and up to $10,000 in fines. Follow this link to learn more about fighting Risk of Injury arrests in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Westport Connecticut.
Fighting Your Social Hosting Arrest in Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich and Westport Connecticut
Top Darien, Ridgefield and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys who regularly fight arrests for Social Hosting in the Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury Connecticut courts understand how to work within the system to get you the best results. When police accuse a parent of having knowledge of an underage drinking party, or allege that a parent has directly served alcohol to a minor, prosecutors must have possession of either direct or circumstantial evidence to prove it. Rumors are not enough to make a case against you. Too often police will just arrest the homeowners under the assumption that the parents were complicit in throwing the party, often getting their information from a jealous parent or teenager who were not invited to the party. A top Darien, Greenwich or New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyer will file motions for disclosure and discovery that will allow them to inspect and examine the evidence the police have gathered against you in your Connecticut arrest for Social Hosting under C.G.S. 30-89a or 30-86. Additionally, your lawyer will closely examine the police reports, 911 recordings, and witness statements for errors, omissions, and constitutional defects. Your attorneys will likely also investigate social media accounts of the accusers to undermine their credibility. Whatever the approach, you need to take the offensive in your efforts to get your Connecticut arrest for social hosting dismissed as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
When Connecticut Police Come to Your Door to Investigate Underage Drinking Parties
A critical question the best Connecticut criminal lawyers often field from parents of Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich, Wilton and Westport Connecticut high school students is whether they have to answer the door when police officers come to their front door to question them about a possible underage drinking party. While we discuss this issue at length in one of our blog postings, know that first and foremost, you cannot lie to the police. That is a separate crime in and of itself. Know that you never have to allow a police officer into your home unless they have a search warrant, or if they insist on entering your home without your permission (which they are entitled to do under very exceptional circumstances where they have probable cause to believe that someone’s health is in danger inside the home). While it is an uncomfortable encounter with the police, stand your ground and tell the police that they are not allowed to enter your home and that they can call your attorney if they have any additional questions. Expect aggressive pushback, threats, and intimidation tactics. Nevertheless, stand your ground, don’t lie, don’t answer any questions you do not feel comfortable answering, close the door on the police, and then contact a top Connecticut criminal lawyer for further advice and guidance.
Getting Your Social Hosting Arrest Report Removed from the Internet
An additional concern that surrounds a Connecticut Social Hosting arrest in New Canaan, Darien, Westport or Greenwich Connecticut is the fallout and impact the arrest may have on your online reputation. As the best Darien and New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyers appreciate, arrests in these small suburban towns are followed closely by local online newspapers that always seem to publish the weekly police blotter and arrest reports, often publishing mug shots accompanied by biased, sensational and grossly inaccurate accounts of the past week’s arrests. Can online reports of your Greenwich, New Canaan or Darien Connecticut arrest report be taken offline? Sometimes, but your chances of removal are usually better with the assistance of a law firm who has experience in this area of law. The team of Mark Sherman Law criminal expungement lawyers are one of the leaders in the State of Connecticut who are trying to protect the reputations of their clients who have had their Connecticut arrests dismissed. Click here to read more about how the Mark Sherman Law Firm is making progress in its internet scrubbing lawsuit against some of the country’s biggest publishing companies, and how they are trying to take the fight to the United States Supreme Court.
Contact an Experienced 30-86 Providing Alcohol to Minors Criminal Attorney Today
While police are generally well-intentioned in keeping teenagers safe from abusing alcohol and other drugs, their choice to arrest parents in Westport, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan Connecticut for violating social hosting laws and providing alcohol to minors is not the solution. The problem of underage drinking cannot be solved by arresting parents and damaging their professional careers and reputations; rather, educating teenagers about the dangers of abusing alcohol would make much more sense. So if you are arrested for Social Hosting in New Canaan, Greenwich, Westport, Wilton or anywhere else in Connecticut, contact an experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Our sole focus is results: trying our best to get your Connecticut social hosting arrest dismissed and to remove any online references of your arrest from the internet. So call us today at (203) 358-4700 for a consultation.