Social Hosting is the common term used when an owner, occupant, or other adult knowingly allows or fails to stop a minor from drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages or beer.
Nothing "Cool" About it
Teens, Parents and Social Hosting
Everyone at the local high school knows about Heather's parents they're the "cool" parents. They let Heather throw parties every weekend and they even buy beer for Heather and her friends. They say they know Heather's going to experiment with alcohol. All teens do.
"If Heather's going to drink, we'd rather have her drink at home," they say.
Chances are that you've heard a lot like this before from parents like Heather's. Some parents mistakenly believe that by letting teens drink in their homes or on their property (a practice known as "Social Hosting" they're doing the responsible thing. They think that by giving kids a safe place to drink they're actually preventing alcohol-related problems.
The thing is, though, those parents are wrong. When it comes to teens and drinking, there is no such thing as "safe." Social hosting may sound like a sensible way to reduce risks, but it's actually dangerous for everyone involved. Supervised or not, teens that drink are more likely to engage in risky behavior.
Adults who provide alcohol to underage teens can be held responsible for the results of that risky behavior. If a teen gets in an alcohol-related car accident or ends up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, the adult who bought the alcohol may wind up in jail of on probation.
This information is designed to bring your attention to Tennessee’s social hosting laws.
- § 39-15-404
(a) was amended and took effect on July 1, 2009, the public welfare requiring it. The amendment reads:
(2) It is an offense for a person to give or buy alcoholic beverages or beer for or on behalf of any minor for any purpose; and
(3) (A) It is an offense for any owner, occupant or other person having a lawful right to the exclusive use and enjoyment of real property to knowingly allow any minor to drink or possess alcoholic beverages or beer or to knowingly fail to stop any minor from drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages or beer while such minor is present on such real property.
- § 39-15-404
(d) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor and, in addition to the penalties authorized by § 40-35-111, the offender shall be sentenced to one hundred (100) hours of community service work. In addition to the penalties established in this subsection (d), the court having jurisdiction over the offender may, in its discretion, prepare and send an order for denial of the offender’s driving privileges to the department of safety, driver control division. The offender may apply to the court for a restricted driver license, which may be issued in accordance with the provisions of § 55-50-502. In the event an offender does not possess a valid driver license, the court having jurisdiction over the offender may, in its discretion, increase the offender’s sentence a maximum of two hundred (200) hours of community service work.
- § 57-4-203 (b) Sales to Minors Prohibited
(2) Any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years who:
(A) Purchases, attempts to purchase, receives, or has in such person’s possession in any public place, an alcoholic beverage, commits a Class A misdemeanor; or
(B) Knowingly makes a false statement or exhibits false identification to the effect that the licensee is twenty-one (21) years of age or older to any person engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining the same commits a Class A misdemeanor.
§40-35-111 - Authorized terms of imprisonment and fines for felonies and misdemeanors.
(e) The authorized terms of imprisonment and files for misdemeanors are:
(1) Class A misdemeanor, not greater than eleven (11) months, twenty-nine (29) days or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided the statute.
We need your help in this fight against underage drinking.
Statistics show that:
- Alcohol is the number one cause of death among teenagers.
- 32,860 teenagers die every year from alcohol-related accidents.
- Alcohol-related incidents escalate around Prom and Graduation.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure alcohol stays out of the hands of our youth.