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Social Host Ordinances Punish Adults Who Serve Alcohol to Minors

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.

 

Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Georgia DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.

 

Georgia has a zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. Though the illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers over 21 years old is 0.08 percent, drivers under 21 can be charged with DUI with a BAC of 0.02 percent. Teen drivers can be charged with DUI in a minor accident if a chemical test indicates that they have a small amount of alcohol in their system. 
 

Georgia adults could face charges for allowing minors to drink alcohol in their homes pursuant to new ordinances adopted in many municipalities. If a minor who leaves a party where he has been furnished alcohol gets stopped by police the minor could face underage DUI charges. Additionally, the adult responsible for providing alcohol to the minor and potentially the homeowner where the alcohol was consumed could also face criminal charges.

 

Counties and municipalities in more than 20 states have enacted social host ordinances, sometimes called teen party ordinances. These are created in an effort to reduce underage drinking and other alcohol-related offenses committed by teens. Most such ordinances hold adults liable for allowing minors to host parties where alcohol is being consumed, even if the adults do not know that the alcohol is being provided or consumed.

 

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kennesaw in Cobb County is the latest municipality to enact a social host ordinance. Adults or property owners could face fines or jail for allowing minors to drink on their property. Parents whose children host parties without their knowledge would not be punished.

 

If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia