Increased Penalties for Florida Parents Who Hold House Parties and Serve Alcohol to Minors

Posted on June 14, 2011

According to an article in Florida Today, freshman state legislator, Rep. Tom Goodson from Titusville told a crowd Wednesday, June 8, that he led a push of support for House Bill 105 – Open House Parties — to crack down on parents who hold house parties and serve alcohol to minors. The bill raises the penalty for a second and subsequent house party violation from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor. If underage drinkers die or suffer serious injury resulting from the house party, the penalty is increased to a first-degree misdemeanor. The measure was prompted, in part, by the death of two teenagers in Titusville who died in 2006 after leaving a house party where alcohol was served. The bill was signed by officers and presented to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature on June 9.

Locally, a St. Augustine woman got a slap on the wrist last October for hosting teen house parties in 2009 that two teens attended before crashing their car in a fireball, killing both teens.

According to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse in 2006, about one-third of teens say they have attended open house parties where teens were drinking or taking drugs. While the majority of parents say they are home when their kids have parties, about one-third of teens say the parents are never present. By 2010, the same survey found 86 percent of parents support social host laws in their communities.

The St. Augustine personal injury lawyers at Farah & Farah recommend parents to always be home when kids host a party and even invite other adults. Serving alcohol to teenagers is never a good idea and can ultimately cost a teen his life and the social host a civil lawsuit that can cost the homeowner substantial assets if a teen is injured or killed after being supplied with alcohol.

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