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Social Hosting Laws in Suffolk County, New York

Social Hosting Laws in Suffolk County, New York

William S. Maseroni's picture

Before you agree to host a graduation or after prom party this year for your teenage son or daughter read this blog and then call Long Island New York’s Premier security and investigative agency to help secure and control your party.

Are you planning to host a graduation party, prom night party for your graduating teenage son or daughter this June?

Has your teenage son or daughter begun their relentless search for the ultimate party house for their after prom party?

Well if you are the proud parents of a graduating teenager I hope you are aware that the process has begun by many of our kids.

As a former New York City Police Sergeant, Security Investigator and father of a 17 year old daughter who will be graduating from high school this June I can tell you from experience that these conversations have already started in the hallways of our schools.

This is a scary thing to think about as a parent. We all want to keep our kids safe from drugs & alcohol. We worry that they will get into a car with someone who is drinking and will be injured or killed. This is one of my greatest fears but I equally worry about the drug overdose or alcohol poisoning.

The other concern for parents is the Suffolk County Social Hosting Law. Many parents are either not fully versed in the law or believe that they can control a teenage party at their home. I believe both are true to a certain extent. Many parents feel safer knowing that their child is in their home after the prom and would rather them drink with their friends in their presence then have them off at some big party with little or no supervision. I understand this compromising theory but can honestly say it is very risky.

So the question is how do we as parents keep ourselves and our children safe but allow our children to have a supervised party in our home that reduces our criminal liability when it comes to the social hosting law?

Not very easy to do.

So lets take a brief look at the Social Host Law.

The Primary purpose of the law is top deter underage drinking parties or gatherings where adults knowingly allow minors to drink alcohol or alcoholic beverages. The law applies to any adult (including parents) who are over the age of 18 and knowingly allow consumption of alcohol by minors (any person under the age of 21)

The law provides a legal basis for holding adults responsible for knowingly allowing parties for individuals under the age of 21 to occur at a place under their control, whether or not they provide the alcohol.
The following can be charged:

  • Anyone who is over the age of 18; and
  • Owns, rents or otherwise controls a private residence; or a permanent or temporary domicile, including a home, apartment, condominium, cooperative unit, trailer home, recreational vehicle, mobile home,
  • overnight accommodations at a hotel, motel campsite or short- term rental property; or other dwelling unit of any kind, including yards and open areas adjacent to these locations.

  • knowingly allows the consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premise; or
  • fails to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premises.

What is Reasonable Corrective Action?

Reasonable corrective actions shall include, but are not limited to:

  • Making a prompt demand that the minor (s) stop drinking the alcoholic beverage or leave the premise; and
  • if the minor refused to comply with the request, the adult must promptly report the underage drinking to:
    • Local law enforcement; or
    • Any other person with greater degree of authority over the minor( e.g. the minors parents or guardians, etc.)

What are the penalties?

1st Offense: Fine not to exceed $500.
2nd Offense and subsequent: Misdemeanor- Fine up to $1000. and /or a term of imprisonment not to exceed on year.
More importantly, is civil liability if a child is injured as a result of your party.

The laws in this regard are absolute–the serving of any alcohol is a violation regardless of intoxication. Moreover, it is no defense that the social host did not actively provide or serve the alcohol because the laws forbid a host from “allowing” a minor’s consumption. Thus, it is sufficient that the host acquiesced (agreed to something passively) in the minor’s drinking, even if the minor consumes alcohol that was procured off the premises. Finally, because the laws define the “knowing consumption” as not just actual knowledge, but as having “awareness,” not only will the host actually present be liable, but so too may the absent homeowner or renter who allows a party to take place.

Each of the laws recognizes that it will not be possible to deny alcohol to determined youths and so a person may escape liability if they make a demand upon the minor to refrain from drinking or to leave the premises, or, failing that, to call the police or the minor’s parents. Each also provides for exceptions if the teen’s parent or guardian is present and consents, or if the alcohol is consumed for reasons of religious observance.

So what can we do as parents?

We can completely avoid the risks of the law by not hosting parties or host a party where we strictly enforce a no-alcohol policy party. Anything else entails risk. The amount of risk depends on how vigilant we are and of course luck with the unpredictable circumstances that can arise with teenagers.

We all know that there is a clear need to address alcohol abuse by teenagers. We as parents can articulate reasons for permissive attitudes to teen drinking. Some of the reasons are:

  • They are going to do it anyway so I would rather they do it at my home where they are safe.
  • It is a rite of passage
  • beer is less dangerous then illegal drugs

So how do we balance the risk to ourselves, our children and allow kids a safe environment to gather and celebrate safely?

Hire a professional security company to help control your party.

WRM Security Services Inc. is a Long Island, New York security and investigative company located in Riverhead, New York. The company is operated by two retired New York City Police Officers. Both live, work and are raising their families on Long Island, New York. We are very familiar with long Island and the problems we have with teenage drinking. Call us today if you are considering hosting a graduation or an after prom party at your home. We can help you plan and secure your party to reduce risk and keep your teenagers and their friends safe.

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Event security, graduation party security, Prom party security, protect underage teens parties, Security, security company, Security company Long Island NY, social hosting law

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24/7 Hotline: 631-406-9761
Office: 516-387-9790

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About WRM

WRM Security Services is a licensed, bonded and insured Private Investigations, Security & Process Services Agency based in Long Island, New York. We currently have offices in Riverhead -11901 and Melville- 11747, Long Island New York.

Process Services. We serve all of Nassau County to the Queens Border and Suffolk County's North Fork all the way to Orient Point and the South Fork all the way to Montauk Point. In addition, we are licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs as a New York City Process Server Agency and our vice president is an individually licensed process server in New York City. New York City is currently the only jurisdiction in the State of New York that requires agencies and individual process servers to be licensed and bonded and we are licensed in the City of New York. As a N.Y.C.D.C.A. licensed Agency and licensed Individual Server we can legally perform and distribute process services in the City of New York. This includes all five (5) Boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens & Staten Island). License No. 2015203-DCA

Private Investigations. We are a licensed, bonded and insured Private Investigations Agency licensed by the New York State Department of State. As a licensed private investigation agency, we are licensed to perform investigations and security in all of New York State. Licensed No. 11000151504