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How to help minors avoid criminal charges this graduation season

As the school year winds down, high school seniors all over New York and across the nation are getting excited about graduation. Not only does it mark a major milestone in any teens' life, it also means attending scores of graduation parties with friends and classmates.

Because graduation from high school can be seen as a passage into adulthood, some parents might think it's okay to serve alcohol at a graduation party. They may even think that because they are there to supervise that the situation will be within their control and that everything will be fine. But in today's post, you will see why this line of reasoning is not a good idea.

Even though a graduation party is a reason for celebration, parents should not be tempted to serve alcohol, especially to minors. That's because New York state law specifically prohibits the delivery of alcohol to anyone who is under the age of 21. Though most people apply this to establishments with a liquor license, the Federal Trade Commission suggests that this could apply to private residences as it is considered illegal to provide alcohol to minors, even on private property, unless you are a family member.

As if criminal charges weren't enough of a reason for parents to avoid serving alcohol at a high school graduation party, it's worth pointing out that a parent could face civil liability as well. Under our state's Dram Shop Law, an adult may be legally responsible if an intoxicated minor were to get into a fight, get injured, cause damage to property or cause a motor vehicle accident after being served alcohol by an adult.

It's also important for parents to remember that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol here in New York. As we explained last October in one of our blog posts, as well as in one of our articles, minors can face serious criminal charges if they are caught consuming alcohol or are found to have alcohol in their system.

We hope today's post made a lot of parents think twice about serving alcohol at a high school graduation party, especially because it can lead to legal consequences for both minors and adults alike.

Sources:, "Alcohol and Your Child, Information Every Parent Should Know," Published 2008, Accessed May 22, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission, "Alcohol Laws by State," Accessed May 22, 2015

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