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What are the consequences of adults providing alcohol to minors?

Many adults in New York State safely and legally enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two to relax and have fun. However, many laws surround the consumption, sale and distribution of alcohol, with driving under the influence being one of the most severe breaches of alcohol laws. Providing alcohol to minors is another severe breach that can get people into serious trouble.

These laws exist to help protect minors and others under the legal drinking age. What are some of the consequences of adults providing alcohol to minors in New York State?

Fines and jail time

While some states make exceptions for a parent, guardian or spouse providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21, New York State makes no such expectations. As such, anyone caught providing alcohol to someone under the legal age for consumption is subject to fines of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail, or a combination of both. This applies even if the underage person in question is drinking inside a private residence.

Civil liability

Parents and guardians may be liable if a minor sustains an injury to themselves, causes an injury to another person or engages in property damage while under the influence of alcohol. This can happen, for instance, if a minor is drinking at a private residence and throws a rock through a neighbor’s window.

When adults are familiar with the laws surrounding providing alcohol to people under the age of 21, they can make better decisions when it comes to dealing with this issue.