As an adult, do you know your liability if you provide alcohol to underage persons on your property? Social hosting is providing or serving alcohol to someone under the age of 21. This subject often comes up this time of year with prom and graduation just around the corner.
If your child asks you to host an underage drinking party or to supply their friends with alcohol, you could say, “I’d love to. I’m not doing anything for the next few months, so I’m free to go to jail”! Or you can just say, “No.”
Many parents think it is safer to have their teens and their friends drink alcoholic beverages in the home where they can be supervised. Parents need to be aware of the consequences of such actions. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code states that it is against the law to provide alcohol to any person under 21, even in your own residence, even with their parent’s permission.
There are legal consequences for providing alcohol to minors, including facing up to a year in jail and/or a $4000 fine. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for six months upon conviction.
If you find that your child’s underage friends bring alcohol into your home and start drinking, call the parents of the underage friend(s), and call the police. If your child asks you to provide a hotel room for an after-prom or after-graduation get together and the room is registered in your name, you could be held civilly responsible if there is an underage drinking party in the room.
Texas is a Zero Tolerance state, meaning it is illegal for anyone under 21 to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. Parents should make sure their teens know the laws regarding underage drinking in Texas.
Social hosting is a bad idea and has a high cost if you are convicted: jail time, a stiff fine, and the loss of your driver’s license. Most importantly, it could cost young lives.
For more information on social hosting, contact the Watch UR BAC program at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in College Station at 979-862-1911.