Parties are some of the highlights of the year for kids, teens and parents alike. We throw them as surprises, set countdown clocks on our phones and use them to celebrate just about any occasion. But what exactly constitutes a party?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a party is a social gathering with entertainment provided for it.”
These events can be a great opportunity to show your teen that you care and want them to lead well-rounded lives both emotionally and socially. Parties are also a chance for you to meet your teen’s friends in person. The question becomes though, how do you make sure that these parties stay safe and alcohol free? On top of that, what are the laws in place that could affect you if underage drinking happens in your home?
Laying Down the Laws
The state of Missouri has specific guidelines about drinking for people who are under the age of 21. Below you will find some of the facts on what exactly is illegal.
It is against the law to allow a person under the age of 21 to consume or possess alcohol on property which you own or rent, unless you are their parent. It is also illegal to fail to stop them from doing so.
It is against the law to allow a person under the age of 21 to use the license of another as his or her own, including knowingly allowing someone else to use your license to purchase or drink alcohol.
It is against the law for teens to reproduce, modify, or alter a driver’s license or an identification card; or to display or possess an expired or fake ID.
It is against the law for any person under the age of 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase or possess any alcohol.
It is against the law for any person under the age of 21 to be visibly intoxicated or to have a blood alcohol level of 0.2% or higher.
These laws have substantial consequences if they are broken. Ranging in severity, these consequences can have lasting impacts on your teen. Not only that, but you will personally be held responsible for the minors you allow to drink or possess alcohol on your property. These consequences include:
Permanent criminal record for you and the present individuals under the age of 21
An expensive alcohol education program
Participation in a 6-hour alcohol awareness class
Community service and probation
In addition to all of this, you will be held liable if anyone leaves your party to drive themselves home. You are putting that minor at risk to being charged with a DWI (Driving while Intoxicated), injuring themselves in a crash or even worse – killing another innocent driver on the road. If this happens, both you and the individual could expect to experience fines, jail time and staggering court costs.
Stop to think about these laws and consequences before you plan to host your next party. It’s your responsibility as a host to always follow the law and keep your guests safe. If you are planning a get-together soon, put precautionary measures in place to make sure that teens stay safe. Above all, know that law enforcement can come to your house and will hold you accountable. It’s not worth the risk. Know the laws and consequences, and help your teen and his or her friends stay safe and sober.