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Underage Drinking Liability

Did you know?

  • If alcoholic beverages are given to a person under the age of 21 in your home or on your property you may be charged with a crime.
  • If your child permits underage drinking he/she may be charged with a crime.
  • If there is unreasonable noise or disorderly conduct in your home or on your property you may be charged with a crime.
  • If there is any personal injury, damage to property or crime committed anywhere and it is found to be related to underage drinking in your home or on your property you may be charged with a crime.

Civil Liability

Photo: Pat Munson and Sheriff Joe GeraceYou may be sued for any injuries and/or damages caused to anyone, anything, anywhere, at any time, if such injuries and/or damages are determined to be related to any underage drinking which may have taken place in your home or on your property.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not pay for losses incurred during the commission of a crime. Given that underage drinking in your home or on your property may be determined to be the result of you having committed a crime, you are at the risk of losing everything you own and having your wages garnished.

Criminal Liability

In addition to the devastation of being sued, a homeowner and a property owner may also face criminal charges resulting from the facilitation of underage drinking. Upon conviction, an adult will be a convicted criminal for life along with whatever penalty the court may impose. The New York State Penal Code states:

  • Section 260.10: Endangering the welfare of a child is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Section 260.20: Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Section 260.45: Criminal nuisance in the second degree is a crime punishable by up to three months in jail and/or fine up to $500.

Does my state hold parents accountable for providing alcohol to teens?

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) has information by state on underage drinking as well as information about social host laws.