Supplying Alcohol to Minors

Rather than becoming the ‘cool parent’ around your child or group of teenagers, providing alcohol to minors can set you up to earn a criminal charge with steep fines and even jail time. The risk is not generally worth it, for both the well-being of the young people consuming the drinks and for the provider who will be charged. Here is some more information on this charge, including why it commonly happens and what will occur when it does.

Why Parents Supply: For many reasons, parents often allow their teenagers or friends to drink in their home, often believing that they will be safer there under their supervision. However, this regularly sets students up with the expectation that their parents approve of their actions, and misunderstand the very real consequences of binge drinking on young people and their developing brains.

This charge is also applied if an adult merely supplies their property for the use of underage drinking, even if they are not present at the time of the gathering.

What Can Happen: If a parent or other adult individual provides alcohol to young people under the age of 21, there are serious criminal penalties attached. They can face fines of up to $1,000 and a maximum of six months in jail—and that’s only if none of the minors were injured. If a underage person is injured or killed because of the drinks consumed, that parent who provided it can also be held responsible.

Expungement: This is not a crime that will necessarily stay on your record for life. Depending on your criminal history, a conviction for providing alcohol to an underage person can be expunged from your permanent record after five years. This will only happen if you have not had any other criminal charges before or after this offense, and it will still affect your chances of employment and housing opportunities.

Exceptions: As with any good law, there are a few exceptions. The provisions do not apply to those consuming small amounts in religious practices, or if an adult offers a drink to a minor with their parent present and giving permission.

Individuals who sold alcohol to minors without knowing they were doing so can also be found not guilty for the charge. If you believe this happened to you, you’ll need to get an experienced defense attorney right away to help prove so. One of the most common ways this happens includes the use of a fake drivers’ license or other form of ID, as well if the person sold to appeared as if he or she were not underage.

Know Your Options: If you are being charged with the crime of providing alcohol to minors, it’s important to know your rights and options moving forward with the case. At Zapicchi & Liller, we have extensive experience providing this information and professional counsel to our clients in similar situations, and will work diligently to provide the best of our services to your case as well. For a free phone consultation about our work, give us a call today at 609-291-9500 to see how we’ll put our training to work for you.