28 Aug Parents Can Be Arrested for Allowing Underage Drinking in their Homes
Some parents take the approach that they’d rather their teenagers drink in the house where kids are not driving and in a more controlled environment. The problem is that parents hosting such parties can be charged criminally. In Virginia, any adult who provides alcohol to an unsupervised minor can be charged with a class one misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. To make matters worse, depending on the number of underage guests, a parent can be charged with numerous counts of the same crime. This means that parents can receive a jail sentence exceeding one year. For example, a parent in Charlottesville received a 27 month jail sentence for serving alcohol at a party for her 16 year old child. According to the mom, she thought she was “protecting the kids by taking their car keys for the night.”
Parents should be aware that law enforcement in counties surrounding Richmond sometimes target these parties. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, when police raided a West End Henrico home, the mother of the teen-host served 15 days jail time.
Interestingly, Virginia is one of the states where it is permissible to serve alcohol to your own children as well as other children who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Va. Code Sec. 4.1-200.