There is a common but dangerous misperception that minors can safely and legally drink at a private home. But minors can cause motor vehicle accidents regardless of where they received alcohol.
The law defines this type of “social hosting” as serving or providing alcohol to minors under 21. It includes hosting a party in a home or being responsible for the property where the party occurred even if the host is not at their property.
Two-thirds of minors receive alcohol from family and friends. But every year, according to the activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are 4,700 traffic fatalities in accidents involving teenage drivers.
There are also other problems associated with limited supervision and heavy drinking at parties:
- Excessive binge drinking and alcohol poisoning
- Sexual assaults or unwanted sexual activity
- Unplanned sex
- Property damage
Adults should verify their guests’ ages by checking their identifications, restrict access to alcohol and supervise minors to prevent underaged drinking. They should call the parents of any minor who drinks and contact the police.
Social host law
Under this Texas law, providing alcohol to minors is a class A misdemeanor, which is just one degree below a felony offense. Punishment includes up to one year of imprisonment, $4,000 in fines or both. Under the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, there is an automatic 180-day suspension of the offender’s driver license.
Adults may also be sued for damages under the Social Host Law.