Two recent cases of violation of the social host liability laws illuminate some interesting issues. In a very high profile case, noted lawyer Tracy Miner was charged after police were called to her house in Situate and found considerable evidence of dozens of teen drinking and an unresponsive teen in the basement. The unconscious teen required medical attention for what was apparently an alcohol overdose. Ms. Miner herself appeared to have been drinking from the police report.
Ms. Miner has been informed that a supportive judge is “taking the case under advisement” for the next six months. This means that if Ms. Miner does not violate any other related laws in the next six months, the charges will be dropped. The thinking here is that the publicity surrounding this high profile case is sufficient incentive for Ms. Miner to re-evaluate her home party policies and do a better job of keeping her children and her community safe.
In another case from the previous year, a Peabody mother was charged after two teens left her home after a night of drinking and were arrested for drunk driving. One made the headlines in a spectacular crash that sent him to the hospital following a jaws of life rescue from the local fire department.
Deborah Arnott and her son Brandon both offered pleas related to a 2011 party they hosted in their home. Ms. Arnott will serve one year on probation, attend a Brains at Risk seminar and pay fines and court costs. Mr. Arnott's case will be continued without a finding for 18 months while he performs community service and pays fines and court costs.
The number one rule to remember: You are not a “buddy” but a parent.
A parent will make different, necessary decisions that a buddy might not make.
Knowing and understanding the law, especially if you are a parent of a teenager is vital to everyone's safety and may prevent you and your family from losing your home.