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The hazards of providing alcohol to a minor

When your children become young adults, it may feel tempting to allow them to drink alcohol in your presence. Many parents reason that young people will inevitably drink, so they may as well oversee the situation and prevent any harm.

However, this can have serious consequences that include criminal charges.

If a minor receives an alcohol-related conviction

You could receive a misdemeanor conviction if you make alcohol available to minors. A judge could also fine you anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and you could spend up to 18 months in jail. Business owners who sell alcohol could also lose their liquor license.

There could be repercussions even if you have alcohol in the house and your child shares it with friends. Minors who provide alcohol to minors face the same potential penalties as adults do.

If a minor causes damages while alcohol-impaired

Anyone can make a mistake while under the influence of alcohol, but young people with their incompletely developed brains are particularly susceptible to poor choices. They also have less experience and skill driving. If an impaired minor causes damages, you could be liable for them.

The court will only hold adults over the age of 21 responsible for an intoxicated minor’s damages. However, if your teen gave a friend alcohol at your house, and you knew about it, you are the one who the judge may convict rather than your child.

Judges do have considerable latitude in sentencing, and a person’s knowledge or intent at the time of the incident may be difficult for the prosecution to prove. A misdemeanor conviction and other penalties may not necessarily be a foregone conclusion if you face charges.

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