Fight for Your Right to Party? Do Connecticut Social Hosting Arrests Really Happen?

Recent New Canaan, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut arrests of parents under CGS 30-86 for hosting underage drinking parties are causing grave concern in Connecticut suburban homes. On the one hand, parents want to foster a healthy respect for underage drinking and drug laws. On the other hand, many parents have accepted the reality that their teenaged children are going to experiment with alcohol and marijuana, and they believe it should be done in a safe, controlled environment, without any chance of them getting behind a steering wheel.

If you think this dilemma is creating a difficult and no-win situation for New Canaan, Westport, Greenwich and Darien parents, you’re right…

 The New Crime for Social Hosting of Underage Drinking Parties in Connecticut

Under new Connecticut laws for Permitting Minors to Possess Alcohol, New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich police can arrest both the parent and child for throwing the underage drinking party, even if the parent did not have direct knowledge of the party. Under new Connecticut Social Hosting laws, including CGS 30-89a, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, and Greenwich Connecticut parents can now be arrested for Permitting Minors to Possess Alcohol in their own home. And under this new CGS 30-89a law, parents can be arrested in Darien, New Canaan, or Westport Connecticut for social hosting an underage drinking party even when they’re away on business or vacation, and aren’t aware of what’s going on at home.

As any of the top New Canaan, Darien or Wilton Connecticut criminal lawyers attorneys would tell you, the statute provides two ways a Greenwich, Darien or New Canaan parent can get arrested for 30-89a permitting minors to possess alcohol. First, a parent cannot knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence permit any minor to possess alcohol in their home. Second, a parent can be arrested in Connecticut under this statute if they know that a teenager possesses alcohol in their home or on their property and they fail to make reasonable efforts to halt such possession.

The best Greenwich and New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys would agree that the language of this statute puts parents at risk for an arrest in almost any situation in which underage drinking occurs in their home. A parent is certainly at risk if they are home and aware of the drinking, and they allow it to continue. Parents might even be at risk for these charges if they are inside the home and unaware that underage drinking is occurring, or even if they are out of the house for the evening or weekend, and leave their teenaged children home with a stocked alcohol cabinet.

Any parent who is arrested in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, or Westport Connecticut under this C.G.S. 30-89a statute will be facing the penalties of a Class A Misdemeanor. This is the most serious misdemeanor in Connecticut and may be punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. In light of how high the stakes are with a charge like this, it is a good idea to contact a top Greenwich or Darien Connecticut criminal lawyer to attempt to get this arrest dismissed as quickly as possible.

Can My Child Get Arrested in New Canaan, Darien or Greenwich Connecticut for Hosting an Underage Drinking Party?

Yes.  Just like their parents, minor children can also get arrested in Darien, Greenwich, or New Canaan Connecticut for hosting underage drinking parties in their homes. Under CGS 30-86, you can be arrested for Providing Alcohol to a Minor, a Class E felony in Connecticut, regardless of how old you are. Recently, two New Canaan teenagers were arrested for felony providing alcohol to minors. Whether you are a juvenile or an adult, anyone who buys and brings alcohol to an underage drinking party can be arrested in New Canaan, Westport, or Darien Connecticut for this Class E felony and can face up to one year in jail. Click here for more information on getting arrested in New Canaan, Darien or Greenwich Connecticut for Providing Alcohol to Minors under CGS 30-86.

Does Taking the Keys Away at Underage Drinking Parties Protect Me from Getting Arrested?

Absolutely not!  Top Darien and New Canaan Connecticut criminal lawyers often get asked whether parents should take car keys from the teenagers who are drinking at their home in order to protect them from criminal and civil liability. Sometimes parents even get consent from other parents before allowing minors to drink in their home. While your intentions might be well-placed in these scenarios, this will not protect you against an arrest or a civil lawsuit if there is a horrible accident. Rather, it could have the opposite effect, and expose you to massive criminal and civil liability, as it proves that you have aided and abetted these teenagers in breaking underage drinking laws, including 30-89a Permitting Minors to Possess Alcohol and 30-89 Possession of Alcohol by a Minor.

Under 30-89a, parents are required to take reasonable measures to stop the underage drinking and possession of alcohol in their home. It’s not enough to take steps such as collecting car keys, while still allowing the underage drinking to occur. Parents must make reasonable efforts to stop the alcohol possession of minors. Reasonable efforts for parents in this situation can include: talking to the minors, taking the alcohol away, contacting the parents of any minors who are drinking, or even calling the police.

Civil Liability for Parents Who Host Underage Drinking Parties in Connecticut

Not only are parents facing criminal arrests in New Canaan, Fairfield and Darien Connecticut for hosting alcohol parties in their homes, but parents might also find themselves civilly liable in these situations. Many of the best Darien and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers regularly warn parents that they are liable in civil court for the damages that can arise as a result of any underage drinking that takes place on their property or in their home, such as DWI / DUI accidents and injuries, as well as assaults.   This means that a parent can get sued and be held civilly liable if a minor drinks too much and injures themselves, other minors, or if a sexual assault occurs as a result of the underage drinking, or even if a minor gets behind the wheel and injures or kills another person after leaving the parent’s home.

Contact a Connecticut Possession of Alcohol Criminal Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today

The team of New Canaan and Westport criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have years of experience in defending parents and teenagers for possessing and distributing alcohol to minors. In fact, we are regularly asked to speak to students and parent groups on this very sensitive and timely issue. So if you have been arrested in Westport, Fairfield, Darien, or New Canaan Connecticut for 30-86 Providing Alcohol to Minors, or for 30-89a Permitting Minors to Possess Alcohol, contact us today at (203) 358-4700. We are available 24/7 to take your call.