Many parents believe that the safest place for a teen to have a drink is at home. Some even stage parties for minors and provide alcohol on their personal properties. This is known as social hosting, and it’s illegal in the state of Texas.
The definition of social hosting is surprisingly broad
Parents don’t actually have to host parties for teens and their friends to be guilty of social hosting. Social hosting occurs anytime a person under the age of 21 consumes liquor on a legal adult’s private property. This property includes homes that are owned and ones that are rented. Social hosting can even occur when adults are not physically present while minors are drinking.
Adults can face both fines and jail time for social hosting
Juvenile criminal law holds minors accountable for alcohol-related crimes. However, for the responsible adults who’ve given alcohol to minors, social hosting is also considered a serious offense. In fact, as a Class A misdemeanor, social hosting is only one step down from a felony. Guilty parties can face up to one full year in jail, and they can also pay as much as $4,000 in fines. In some states, furnishing minors with alcohol can additionally result in the immediate suspension of the offender’s driver’s license.
Social hosting laws are meant to prevent underage drinking
Social hosting laws exist to prevent social access to alcohol for underage individuals. In most locations, there are laws prohibiting social hosting at both the state and local levels. The implementation of these laws has reduced heavy, self-reported, episodic drinking; total deaths of minors in motor vehicle accidents; and alcohol-related fatality rates for traffic accidents involving young adults aged 18 to 24.
These changes contradict the unfortunate belief that allowing minors to drink at home is safe. Underage drinking at home parties can still lead to driving while intoxicated and many alcohol-related injuries. Thus, it’s always critically important for homeowners and renters to ensure that minors are never consuming alcohol on their premises.