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House parties, minors, and alcohol consumption

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2022 | Uncategorized

Adults sometimes make errors in judgment when dealing with minors, and the mistakes could get them into legal trouble. In Florida, adults might look the other way when minors use alcohol and drugs at a house party or similar event. Florida criminal statutes address the consequences for allowing such events to transpire at an “open house party.”

The open house party statute

Under the Florida criminal code, an open house party refers to a “social gathering at a residence.” When minors illegally use alcohol or controlled substances at the event, the owner, tenant, or any person “having control” over the residence might face charges.

The statute also notes that the minor need not consume alcohol or drugs for the adult to face legal troubles. Possession of controlled substances or alcohol would support criminal charges.

Legal woes for the person in charge

Under the statute, persons who commit a first-time offense could face second-degree misdemeanor charges. A subsequent offense may result in first-degree misdemeanor charges, as would an event that results in bodily injury or death.

Adults could face other legal problems when allowing minors to consume drugs or alcohol. Misdemeanor theft violations may happen since intoxicated minors may behave inappropriately.

A misdemeanor conviction means a permanent criminal record, and problems might not stop there. A civil lawsuit could result when someone suffers an injury on another person’s premises. A wrongful death judgment could be an enormous one.

Of course, prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and provide evidence sufficient to support the charges. If the prosecutor cannot prove the accused knew minors possessed drugs or alcohol, a conviction could become challenging.