House parties are popular among Florida teens. In many instances, these parties provide teenagers with a method to consumer alcohol and other drugs. However, many Florida parents need to be aware of Florida’s “open house party” law effective since 1991. Pursuant to this law, if any person under the age of 21-years-old is caught drinking or using other drugs at a party in your home or on your property you could be arrested and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
This law has recently come to light after two sets of parents in Boca Raton, Florida were arrested for hosted post-homecoming parties, where alcohol was present. According to the police reports, the parents said they either were unaware that alcohol was at the party or that it was brought by a mob of uninvited party crashers. The parents arrested were Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi and Paul and Ingrid Paolino, both of Boca Raton, Florida.
According to the Rasabi’s attorney, Adam Harmelin, the Rasabi’s went above and beyond what the law requires by providing security at the private homecoming party the Rasabi’s held for their two sons, aged 16 and 17. What must be proved by the State of Florida is that the parents knew there was alcohol on the premise, the alcohol was being consumed by minors and the parents did nothing to stop the underage consumption. According to the Florida Supreme Court, parents could avoid being charged if they ended the party or took other steps to stop the alcohol or drug use. If you would like to read more on this story please see Florida parents need to know Florida’s “Open House Party” Law.
Parents have a responsibility to know what their children, especially teenagers, are getting into. Although parents are not forbidden from throwing homecoming or graduation parties for their teens, parents need to be aware of the activities going on at these parties. Maintaining supervision over the party will protect parents from liability and ensure a safe environment for their children and the other teens attending the party.