One of the first questions that law enforcement will ask when they discover someone under 21 years of age in possession of alcohol is how they were able to secure the alcohol in the first place. None of the standard answers to this question will lead to a good result.
Social Hosting of underage drinking party-7 VSA § 658-Maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and a fine of $2,000 or both.
If adults have chosen to allow underage individuals consume alcohol at a premises in which they control, the adults may be liable for facilitating the consumption and be subject to the criminal penalties as set forth above.
The statute defines enabling as creating a “direct and immediate” opportunity for individuals under 21 years of age to consume alcohol. This can be the result of directly providing alcohol to an individual under 21 years of age or allowing the use of a venue that is controlled by the adult where underage consumption is permitted.
Serious bodily injury or death resulting from violation of 7 VSA § 658
In the event that a minor hurts themselves or someone else while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the adults facilitating the alcohol consumption may be subject to a felony charge that carries with it up to 5 years in prison.
The key element in any enabling violation is determining whether the adult knew or should have know that alcohol was going to be consumed. This charge in many instances is brought as a result of an adult agreeing to host a party for minors where alcohol is present. The adult in charge can not plead ignorance that alcohol was present if they were in charge of securing and providing the residence or facility to those under 21 years of age. However, if there are circumstances that would place into doubt the knowing element, such as the assignment of the rights to the premises to another adult, doubt may be cast as to the culpability of the individual charged.