The Westchester County Board of Legislators appears ready to approve a Social Host Law by this fall. Under the proposed bill, Westchester would join other counties such as Nassau and Suffolk in imposing criminal penalties on adults who allow those under under the age of 21 to drink alcohol on their property. This new alcohol law would impose fines from $250 to $1,000 on adults who violate the law, with the only exception being that the bill does not apply to the adult’s own children.
The supporters of the law, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) argue that the bill will close loopholes in state law which allow party hosts to avoid criminal prosecution by claiming they didn’t know that minors were drinking alcohol on their property. Critics of the proposed law such as the New York Civil Liberties Union, (NYCLU) contend that the law is unnecessary because state law already prohibits serving alcohol to minors. Additionally, critics claim that the bill would encourage over aggressive police enforcement and violate privacy rights.
A final hearing on the bill is scheduled for August 11th, after which legislators are likely to vote on the law.
If you are charged with a crime involving alcohol or drugs, contact the White Plains New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or at 914-224-3086 for a free consultation as to your legal options.