Westport Social Hosting Lawyer
As any of the best Westport Connecticut criminal law firms know, suburban towns like Westport Connecticut are cracking down on social hosting laws designed to curb underage drinking. Westport Police are now arresting Westport Connecticut parents for hosting underage drinking parties at their homes. The increasing number of parent-sponsored parties that encourage, promote or tolerate underage drinking and drug use have caught the attention of Westport Connecticut police officers and prosecutors. Permitting your children to host an alcohol drinking party in Westport Connecticut—or even turning a blind eye to a party going on in your basement, garage, or guest house—will now result in a Westport Connecticut arrest for what’s called “social hosting” and will have devastating effects on your both your personal reputation and potentially your career. So if you have been arrested for social hosting in Westport Connecticut, then you should contact a top Westport or Norwalk Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney as soon as possible in order to learn whether you will be able to get your Westport Connecticut social hosting arrest dismissed.
Can Providing Alcohol to a Minor a Felony?
The Connecticut crime of “social hosting” is defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 30-86 and § 30-89a, which both apply to scenarios where Connecticut homeowners are accused of serving, providing or hosting an underage drinking party. The best Westport Connecticut criminal attorneys and lawyers understand there are two categories of social hosting laws that police can arrest you for in Connecticut: one is a felony and the other is a misdemeanor. The felony social hosting arrest falls under C.G.S. § 30-86 and prohibits anyone over the age of 21 from knowingly and intentionally providing alcohol to a minor. This felony arrest in Connecticut applies to anyone who purchases, pours, and/or personally serves alcohol to any person under the age of 21. Click here for more info on fighting arrests in Westport Connecticut for Providing Alcohol to Minors in violation of CGS 30-86.
Misdemeanor Charges for Social Hosting in Westport
A misdemeanor social hosting arrest in Westport Connecticut falls under C.G.S. § 30-89a. This law prohibits anyone from knowingly allowing minors to consume or possess alcohol, or failing to make reasonable efforts to stop minors from consuming or possessing alcohol under their roof (even if they don’t know kids are drinking in their home). If you are arrested for Social Hosting under 30-89a in Westport Connecticut, then any top Westport or Norwalk criminal attorney will tell you that this statute is very broad and allows prosecutors and cops to cast a wide net over conduct with they can claim—without much evidence—is social hosting. Essentially, this Connecticut social hosting law can arrest you for not knowing what your kids are doing behind your back! So if you are arrested in Westport Connecticut for the misdemeanor crime of Social Hosting under C.G.S. § 30-89a, then you should call a top Westport Connecticut criminal law firm as quickly as possible to get your Westport Social Hosting arrest dismissed and expunged.
Procedures & Penalties for Westport Connecticut Social Hosting Arrests
A Westport Connecticut arrest for Social Hosting will be referred to Norwalk Superior Court located at 17 Belden Avenue in Norwalk Connecticut (this is because there is no criminal courthouse in Westport Connecticut). These charges can be serious if not handled properly by you and your top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney. Felony arrests in Westport for Providing Alcohol to Minors under C.G.S. § 30-86, expose you to up to 18 months of jail, heavy fines, and 3 years of supervised probation. The misdemeanor arrest in Westport for Social Hosting under C.G.S. § 30-89a carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail, fines, and probation. No matter which Social Hosting crime you are arrested for, your arrest report and photo / mug shot will be published on the internet by the local Westport media and news websites. Remember, Westport Connecticut police want to make an example out of your Social Hosting arrest, in an effort to deter other parents from throwing underage drinking parties. Know, however, there are ways to get your Westport Connecticut arrest reports off the internet. Don’t let your case be the media case everyone is Westport is talking about. You should contact any of the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers who can not only defend you in court, but can also get your Westport Connecticut online arrest off the internet as soon as possible.
How Can I Fight My Westport Connecticut Arrest for Social Hosting?
The best thing that you can do to begin to fight your social hosting arrest in Westport is to contact a top Westport Connecticut criminal defense lawyer attorney. Be sure to hire a top Connecticut criminal lawyer who frequently fights Social Hosting arrests in Norwalk Superior Court, and who is a “regular” in the Norwalk courthouse. Don’t hire a Connecticut real estate lawyer or divorce lawyer who shows up in criminal court every once in a while. Your top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer will immediately know how to file motions to preserve evidence, witness statements, and all 911 and police dispatch recordings. They will also know how to investigate whether Westport police even had probable cause to arrest you for Social Hosting in Westport Connecticut. Often, parents are arrested for social hosting based on rumors circulated by teenagers who did not get invited to the party or who have other grudges against you or your kids. In these cases, Westport police and Norwalk prosecutors are not provided with enough direct or circumstantial evidence to sustain an arrest. A top Norwalk and Westport Connecticut criminal defense attorney will immediately file motions with the state for disclosure and discovery to inspect and examine any evidence, and will scrutinize the evidence for errors, omissions and constitutional deficiencies. They will also scour Westport social media pages to find additional evidence that will help your case. These are discovery strategies that only experienced Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers are familiar with in fighting Social Hosting arrests in Connecticut.
Do I Have to Let Westport Police Officers Into My Home?
When the Westport Police come to your door and question you about a possible underage drinking party, the most important thing to remember is that you cannot lie to the police. Lying to the police is a serious offense and is considered a separate crime in and of itself. So you must consider invoking your right to remain silent. If you are concerned that you may be arrested for Social Hosting in Westport Connecticut, then it is always advisable to NOT provide ANY information to the Westport Police. Tell them you would like to consult with your top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer first, take their name and number, deny them access to your home, and politely ask them to leave. Know your rights. You never have to allow the police to enter your home unless they have a search warrant or they are insisting that they have probable cause to enter the home because someone’s life is in imminent danger. And you NEVER have to answer any questions asked to you by the Westport police, even if they have a search warrant, arrest warrant, or arrest you for Social Hosting under CGS 30-86 and CGS 30-89. If you don’t let them in, be ready for the police to be super-aggressive with you. They may try to scare and threaten you for not cooperating, but understand that if they’re doing that, then this is a telltale sign of desperation and a lack of information and evidence on their part. Again, politely tell the police that they can contact your attorney if they have any additional questions, close the door, and immediately contact a top Westport Connecticut criminal defense attorney for further advice on how to handle the situation. Follow this link to read more about what to do if Connecticut police officers show up unexpectedly at your front door.
Getting Your Westport Connecticut Arrest for Social Hosting off the Internet
Local Westport Connecticut online newspapers and news outlets will usually write an article on your Westport social hosting arrest, and publish it online. These articles will typically include an unfair and biased version of your arrest report and your photograph. Additionally, the newspaper will not extend you the courtesy of contacting you for your side of the story. If it sounds unfair, that’s because it is. Because of First Amendment rights, these online arrest reports are very hard to remove from the internet, but your chances of removal increase greatly with the help of a criminal defense law firm that has experience in internet scrubbing and online expungements. The Mark Sherman Law team of expungement attorneys have been leaders in this area of internet scrubbing law in Connecticut. We understand how serious the stigma of your online reports is and will fight these media companies to protect the reputations of our clients who have had their Connecticut social hosting arrests dismissed and expunged, but whose Westport arrest reports are still being published on the internet for future employers and colleagues to see. Click here to learn how the Mark Sherman Law firm fought some of this country’s biggest publishing companies on this issue and took the fight to the United States Supreme Court.
Contact Social Hosting Criminal Lawyers at Mark Sherman Law Today
While we understand that the police are trying to keep kids safe in enforcing Social Hosting laws, arresting Westport Connecticut parents is not the best solution. The problem will not be solved by arresting parents and causing them humiliation and loss in their personal and professional lives. Rather, educating children would be the most effective solution. So if you are a parent who has been arrested in Westport, Connecticut for Social Hosting under 30-86 or 30-89a, then contact an experienced lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to get your Westport Social Hosting arrest dismissed, and make efforts to scrub / remove any online reports of your Westport Connecticut arrest off the internet. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.