Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Don't Host Underage Drinking in Texas!

As this is the graduation/beginning of summer season, it is worthwhile to clarify a misconception about underage parties.

Many parents are under the FALSE belief that they can throw parties for underage kids and provide alcoholic beverages as long as it is under adult supervision.  WRONGO.

It is true that it is not a crime for a parent to purchase an alcoholic beverage for or give an alcoholic beverage to their child if they are visibly present when the children possesses or consumes the alcohol (Tex. Alco Bev. Code Sec. 106.06(b)). 

 HOWEVER it is NOT TRUE that you can do so for other people's kids.  Even if they have permission from each of the minor children's parents.  If you purchase or give an alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 who is not your child you are committing a Class A misdemeanor and are subject to a $4000 fine and 1 year in jail for each kid you let belly up to the bar.

And here is a basic fact: underage kids should not be drinking.  Period.  You may think you are being clever by having a party at your house instead of the kids having a party somewhere where they may drink and drive.  But this is wrongheaded thinking.  Parents should teach their children to obey the law.  The law in every state is clear: no drinking until you are 21!  And no matter how you think you are going to force all the kids to not drive, to sleep in your house etc., there are thousands of ways all that can go wrong.

Which brings up the issue of liability.  Any person who hosts a drinking party for minors can be held civilly and criminally liable for any injuries that are caused by drunk kids.  (Tex. Alco. Bev. Code Sec. 2.02(c)).  Do you really want that kind of heat coming down on you because you wanted to be the "cool" parent?   Instead, teach your children well and early about drug and alcohol abuse and demand zero tolerance for abuse.  That is the best way to ensure your children stay safe at this time of year.