Darien Social Hosting Lawyer
Ask any top Darien Connecticut criminal lawyer or attorney—Darien police are ramping up their efforts to stop underage drinking parties and enforce social hosting laws. Under Darien Connecticut social hosting laws, Darien police can arrest you for owning the home where underage drinking is taking place, even if you do not actually provide alcohol to the teenagers or were aware drinking was even going on in your home. Over the past few years, the best Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers have seen growing concern over social hosting among politicians, prosecutors, legislators and, of course, police officers. The concern is two-fold. First, teenagers often overindulge at drinking parties and consume an unsafe amount of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. Second, teenagers then leave these underage drinking parties intoxicated, which raises fears of drunk driving, sexual assaults, fighting, and other dangerous behavior.
A Darien Connecticut arrest for social hosting under CGS 30-89a or providing alcohol to minors under CGS 30-86 can leave you with a permanent criminal record if not handled properly by a top Darien Connecticut criminal lawyer. So if you have been given a summons or arrested in Darien Connecticut for Providing Alcohol to a Minor (30-86) or Social Hosting (30-89a), then be sure to reach out to a top Darien Connecticut criminal defense lawyer attorney to better understand your rights and learn if and how you can get your Darien Connecticut social hosting arrest dismissed as quickly as possible.
What are the Social Hosting Laws in Darien Connecticut?
There are two categories of crimes in the Connecticut law books that fall under Connecticut’s aggressive “social hosting” laws. The first and most serious arrest in Darien is for Providing Alcohol to a Minor, C.G.S. § 30-86, which is a felony. Darien police can arrest you for providing alcohol to a minor for “knowingly” or “intentionally” providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21. This means you can be arrested in Darien Connecticut if you personally serve alcohol to someone under 21 or buy alcohol for someone underage. Follow this link for a more in-depth discussion on how to fight your Darien Connecticut arrest for Providing Alcohol to a Minor under CGS 30-86.
The other crime, known as Social Hosting, is codified in C.G.S. § 30-89a, and is a misdemeanor. You might also see this charge referred to as “permitting a minor to illegally possess liquor” or “failing to halt illegal possession.” Regardless of the officer’s wording, this Darien arrest is aimed at homeowners who knew or should have known that a party with underage drinking was taking place within their home. The bottom line with this charge is that if you fail to stop minors from consuming alcohol in your home or on your property, then you can be arrested in Darien Connecticut for Social Hosting under CGS 30-89a. This law presents a huge problem for Darien homeowners and parents of teenagers, especially because Darien police can arrest you for social hosting if they feel that you should have known about a party, even if you truly did not know and did not personally purchase alcohol or serve alcohol to a minor. To allow Darien police to decide what you “should have known” is patently unfair. That’s why the best Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys frequently challenge the broad language of this social hosting statute, as it gives police wide discretion in making these social hosting arrests. This broad language opens the door for the best Darien, New Canaan and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers to fight Darien Social Hosting arrests from a subjective point of view, providing information and evidence to prosecutors and criminal court judges of what information was available to homeowners at the time that Darien Police believe you should have been aware that underage drinking was taking place.
What are the Penalties for Darien Social Hosting Arrests?
Connecticut takes social hosting laws and arrests very seriously and, accordingly, the penalties are severe. Whether you are arrested in Darien Connecticut for felony Providing Alcohol to a Minor under C.G.S. § 30-86 or misdemeanor Social Hosting under C.G.S. § 30-89a, you face the risk of fines, jail time, or both. If you are arrested for Providing Alcohol to a Minor in Darien, then you are facing a Class “E” felony charge, which carries up to 18 months in jail. An arrest for Social Hosting in Darien Connecticut under 30-89a is a Class “A” misdemeanor charge, which can carry up to 1 year in jail. In either case, you will need to appear in Stamford Superior Court to answer your charge and fight your Darien Social Hosting arrest.
What if a Darien Police Officer Shows Up at My Door to Investigate a Drinking Party?
As most Darien Connecticut residents know, Darien Connecticut police are going to great lengths to fight underage drinking parties, even setting up an underage drinking “party-busting hotline” where parents, students and other concerned citizens can anonymously report underage drinking parties in Darien. With tips coming in from the hotline, as well as Darien cops trolling social media for announcements of teenage drinking parties in Darien, police will often show up to Darien homes unannounced to investigate.
“Should I open the door if Darien Connecticut police officers show up at my house and ask me about a possible underage drinking in my home?” This is a question that top Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers get all the time. A more detailed discussion of this very issue is available here. In short, though, there are a few ground rules. First of all, never lie to the police, as that is a separate crime. Next, except for very limited circumstances, Darien Connecticut police cannot enter your home without a search warrant. (Those limited circumstances include when police fear for the safety of someone inside of your home). If the officers do not have a warrant and do not have probably cause to enter your home without a warrant, then you can say no. Of course, this can be an awkward situation and is sometimes met with resistance from Darien police officers, and even veiled threats, but don’t be intimidated. Remember, you are allowed to say no and you do not have to answer any questions if you do not feel comfortable. It is almost always a better idea to advise the Darien Police officers to wait outside on the street, off your property (otherwise they will walk around your home with flashlights and look through windows), while you call your experienced Darien Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney.
How to Fight Your Darien Connecticut Social Hosting Arrest
The best Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers regularly appear in Stamford Superior Court and know how to fight Darien Social Hosting arrests and Darien Providing Alcohol to Minor arrests. Top Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers will scrutinize your police reports, witness statements and all of the audio and video surveillance recordings in each case (including 911 recordings) for errors, omissions and constitutional deficiencies. Remember, Darien police must be able to prove you served alcohol to someone under 21. Or they must be able to prove that you knew or should have known a party with underage drinking was going on in your basement, garage, guest house, or elsewhere within or on your property. The best Darien criminal lawyers and attorneys know that because of the vagueness of Darien social hosting statutes, rumors and assumptions are not enough to get you arrested. The best Darien criminal lawyers will dig even deeper and examine your accusers’ social media websites to reveal any information that might contradict their statements to the police. Hiring a private investigator may also be appropriate in some cases. Because all of these seemingly small details can make a big difference, it is always advisable to contact a top Darien Connecticut criminal attorney before going to your first court date.
The Tack-On Charge – Be Careful of Darien Police Arresting You For Risk of Injury to a Minor Child
Another risk of getting arrested in Darien Connecticut for Social Hosting is the potential of being arrested for an additional felony charge, known as Risk of Injury to a Minor in Connecticut under C.G.S. § 53-21. As top Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers frequently see, this charge can be tacked on to a Providing Alcohol to a Minor or Social Hosting arrest if there were children under 16 attending the underage drinking party or merely in the vicinity, and can be charged against you, even if these teenagers were not possessing or consuming alcohol. If you are arrested in Darien Connecticut for Risk of Injury under CGS 53-21, you can also expect DCF to come investigate you and your family, so be sure to reach out to a top Darien Connecticut DCF Investigations lawyer if DCF knocks on your door. Also know that arrests for Risk of Injury to a Minor in Darien, Connecticut are classified as Class “C” felonies, and carry up to 10 years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Click here to learn more about Risk of Injury arrests in Darien, Connecticut.
What if my Social Hosting Arrest is Published Online?
A Darien Connecticut social hosting arrest can be even more damaging to you if it is posted on the internet. In small suburban towns like Darien, Connecticut, online newspapers like the Darien Times, Darien News Online and the Darien Patch seem to frequently publish online arrest reports and online Darien police blotters. Sometimes they go so far as to include your mug shot, address and a blistering story about your arrest – even if that story is one-sided and based on biased police reports and inaccuracies. The online story of your Darien social hosting arrest can linger online for years, even after the case against you is dropped or dismissed. It is therefore worth consulting with an experienced Internet scrubbing lawyer to discuss getting those records removed from the Internet. At Mark Sherman Law, our team of Connecticut internet scrubbing lawyers can help you protect your online reputation. Follow this link for more information about our national internet scrubbing lawsuit against some of the largest publishers in America and how we can get your Darien Connecticut arrest report taken off the internet.
Social Hosting Arrests on Connecticut College & University Campuses
Top Darien Connecticut social hosting criminal lawyers have noticed that not only have arrests for social hosting increased in small suburban towns like Darien and New Canaan Connecticut, but arrests for social hosting and providing alcohol to minors have increased across Connecticut college campuses. Police at the University of Connecticut, Sacred Heart University, Southern Connecticut State University, and other schools across Connecticut are aggressively enforcing social hosting laws, often arresting Connecticut college students for serving alcohol to other college students who are under 21. For more about Social Hosting arrests at Connecticut colleges, click here.
Talk to an Experienced Darien Connecticut Social Hosting / Providing Alcohol to Minors Criminal Lawyer Today
Darien Connecticut police zero tolerance approach is becoming clear – they want to keep teenagers safe by shutting down drinking parties and arresting parents who facilitate and host them. However, broad Connecticut social hosting statutes that allow the arrest of parents for what they should or should not know is not the solution. At Mark Sherman Law, we understand that the emphasis should be on educating parents and teenagers rather than arresting parents. So if you have been arrested for Providing Alcohol to a Minor or Social Hosting in Darien Connecticut, or anywhere else in Connecticut, call one of the experienced Darien social hosting criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. Our goal is results—getting your Darien social hosting criminal case dismissed and removing any online references to your arrest. Call us for a consultation today at (203) 358-4700.