Teen Parties

Teen Parties and Alcohol - What Parents need to Know

(per New York State Law)

May a parent serve alcohol to teens and friends at a parent supervised party?

NO, the law applies to all situations in which an underage person is served alcohol by anyone other but his/her parents.  A parent serving the young friends alcohol would be committing a Class B Misdemeanor under (NY) Penal Law Section 260.20 which allows a parent or guardian to furnish liquor or beer to their own children only.  The Social Host Law applies, exposing the parent to civil liabilities for any injury caused by the minor as a result of intoxication.

Some PARENTS MISTAKENLY believe they are being "cool" while assisting their children in being popular.  The truth IS that as children mature, they will grow to realize the shallowness and indeed foolishness of such immature actions.

What is the Social Host Law?

Under general obligation Law Section 11-100, any person who is injured by a minor who is intoxicated, or whose ability is impaired, may sue for the resulting damage WHOEVER knowingly provided the alcohol to the minor.

The Legal Purchase Age is now 21 (NY). What does the new law mean?

It means you must be 21 years old to buy alcoholic beverages in bars, taverns, restaurants or in clubs, or to buy those beverages in liquor stores and supermarkets.  It is also illegal for any person, over or under 21, to buy alcoholic beverages for, or to give them to, anyone under 21 (except their own child and other limited circumstances).

What will happen to an underage person who gets caught drinking, purchasing, or possessing alcohol?

As of January 1, 1990, any person who presents false identification to purchase alcoholic beverages can receive a fine up to $100.00 and/or 30 hours of community service.  In addition, there can be a 90-day suspension of the driver's license of anyone who has used it to illegally purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages.  As of April 1, 1990, all driver's licenses and non-driver identification cards for persons under 21 will be imprinted with the statement, "under 21 years of age".  Also a new law has made it illegal for those under 21 to possess alcohol with INTENT to consume it and empowers both police and peace officers to confiscate the alcohol.

May children drink at home with their parents, or be served wine as a part of a religious service?

A parent or guardian may serve alcoholic to his or her own child under 21 only at home.  The Social Host Law applies here also. The drinking law does not apply to religious services.

Can a parent or legal guardian buy his or her underage child an alcoholic beverage in a Licensed Establishment, Ball Park or Private Club?

No, since that would amount to the parent misrepresenting the age of the child.   The law applies to all licensed premises.

What about "Drinking and Driving?"

New Yorkers under the age of 21 caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .02 or higher, face a mandatory six-month suspension of their drivers' license.  This "zero tolerance" legislation is aimed at people who drink in defiance of the 21 year old legal limit and then get behind the wheel.  The .02 level is the equivalent of one beer.  Violators would also face a fine of $125.00 and a $100.00 fee for getting their license back under the bill. Second offenders would lose their license until age 21.

When your teen is giving a party:

1.   Plan in advance. Discuss the party plans with your teenager.  Know the guest list, so you can prevent an "open party" situation.

2.   Set definite starting and ending times.  Plan an activity such as swimming, skating or renting movies. Consider a daytime party.

3.   Agree to rules ahead of time:

·         No alcohol or other drugs

·         No smoking

·         No leaving, then returning to the party

·         No gate crashers allowed.

·         Lights will be left on.

·         Some rooms are off limits.

4.   Know your responsibilities! Be visible and aware.  You are legally responsible for anything that may happen to a minor who has been served drugs or alcohol in your home.

5.   Invite another parent or couple as company for you during a long evening, and to help if there are any problems.  When parents deliver their teens to your house, invite them in to get acquainted, if only briefly.

When your teen is going to a party

1.   Make sure there will be parental supervision and that no alcohol will be served.  A tactful call to the host may be advisable.

2.   Know where your daughter/son is going and with whom.  When taking your teen to a party, go to the door and introduce yourself.  If you already know the family, at least wait to see that she/he is inside the house.

3.   Make it easy for your teen to leave a party.  Agree that she/he can call you (or another adult) to come for her/him if there is any reason why staying is uncomfortable.

4.   Urge your teen NEVER to ride home with a driver who has been drinking.

5.   Be awake to greet your teen when she/he comes home.

Compliments of the


Chief Kevin A. Nulty
Det. Rich Keiser, Director
Mrs. Marianne Walker, Esq., Chairperson

(845) 359-1775
(845) 359-4563 FAX