Underage Drinking and Parental Liability
While watching any teen movies these days, it seems that all our children want to do is drink alcohol and break rules. As the story progresses, a parent is nearly always out of town, and their child invites the entire school over for a night of unsupervised events. Luckily for these cinematic plots, there almost always seems to be a hero who opposes underage drinking and good choices triumph. Perhaps these scenarios serve as a cautionary tale for us as parents to never leave our children alone. However, on the other end, you also do not necessarily want them to go off to college without ever being trusted while you and your spouse run to the grocery store. What our juvenile children do while we are away can have us met with handcuffs and parental liability when we return.
If your child sneaks into the liquor cabinet while you are gone, it is not likely that the police will immediately come knocking on the door. However, once neighbors begin to notice droves of children flocking into your home while your car is absent, someone may be inclined to involve the police. Officers jump on the opportunity to make a public example of the teen in question. The problem with making a display is it supersedes the right to a fair court hearing. In too many cases, these juveniles invited over just a couple close friends and those friends are the people who called the school, unbeknownst to you or your child. In similar scenarios, leaving your adolescent alone with an open supply of liquor can result in a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000.00. Your child can also face charges, resulting in:
- Fines between $200.00 and $500.00,
- 30-day loss of license, or
- 150-day delay in obtaining licensure.
What Age Is Appropriate?
Your decisions seemingly are almost always a source of debate no matter what you do as a parent. One such decision may include the age at which you leave your children alone. Connecticut law does not determine an age threshold at which would be safe, rather the Attorney General offers general guidelines to consider, including:
- Experts suggest 12 years old and up,
- These same experts agree that 15 years of age should be the minimum for babysitting other children,
- The maturity level of the child,
- The ability to handle emergency situations alone,
- The surrounding environment, and
- Their feelings about being left alone.
Help for Your Family
If your child got caught up as a social host resulting in charges for everyone involved, things might not be as bad as they seem, especially if it is the first offense. Diversionary programs are in place as potential plea bargains, but it is also possible to have the case dismissed given the right circumstances. If you are interested in discussing your case with a Stamford, CT juvenile defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today by calling 203-348-5846 to schedule your risk-free initial complimentary consultation.