Parents providing minors with alcohol face jail time

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Think it's OK to allow underage drinking to celebrate the end of school? Think again.

  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff

Police and prosecutors say not only can youngsters be cited for consuming alcohol, but the parents who allow it can go to jail.

Augusta District Attorney Danny Craig says his office will prosecute any cases involving parents who assist in providing alcohol to a minor.

He also pointed out in an e-mail that homeowner insurance policies have exemptions for coverage of injuries caused by criminal acts.

"Moreover, if a child drinks alcohol at one house, and then goes elsewhere and consumes more, the first supplier is jointly and severally liable for all injuries and damages caused by that child," Mr. Craig said.

Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said parents might justify their actions, saying "'At least this way I know where they're at, they're safe, I have their keys.'"

But he added, "It's just so difficult to control these parties and control who goes in, who leaves."

Such parties are not a new thing.

Last weekend police made arrests at a home in the Springlakes subdivision in Martinez. Jeanine Helen Burack, 43, and her son, Bryan Michael Burack, 18, were arrested Sunday and charged with providing alcohol to minors.

Ms. Burack told police she arrived home after the party began and took liquor from teens inside but was not aware of alcohol being consumed. Police, however, said a keg also had been set up in the home's back yard. Its purchase is now being investigated.

Richmond County Sgt. Richard Elim said his department steps up enforcement this time of year in part by conducting underage buys from local stores.

"If we find parents who supply alcohol to kids we charge them," Sgt. Elim said. "There's no gray area. The safety of our kids is paramount and we take it very seriously."

Aiken authorities are also watching the problem.

"If minors are seen with alcohol and the parents are out of town, we try to determine who supplied the alcohol," said Lt. Mark Farmer, of the city of Aiken's Department of Public Safety.

Although parents can be held liable for their children's misdeeds, Lt. Farmer said his department usually charges youngsters with offenses that carry a possible 30-day jail sentence and loss of their driver's license.

Lt. Michael Frank, a spokesman with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said South Carolina law does allow parents to provide alcoholic beverages to their own children in their own home.

But parents providing alcohol for other children is illegal.

An adult charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor could spend 30 days in jail or see a maximum fine of $200.

Staff Writers Adam Folk and Michelle Guffey contributed to this report.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS


South Carolina Code of Laws


SECTION 61-4-90. Transfer of beer or wine for underage person's consumption.


[SC ST SEC 61-4-90] It is unlawful for a person to transfer or give to a person under the age of 21 years for the purpose of consumption beer or wine at any place in the State. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 30 days. A person found guilty of a violation of Section 61-6-4070 and this section may not be sentenced under both sections for the same offense.


The provisions of this section do not apply ... to a parent or guardian over the age of 21 giving beer or wine to his children or wards under the age of 21 in their home; or to a person giving beer or wine to another person under the age of 21 in conjunction with a religious ceremony or purpose if the beer or wine was lawfully purchased.


SECTION 61-6-4070 Transfer to person under the age of 21 years.


It is unlawful for a person to transfer or give to a person under the age of 21 years for the purpose of consumption alcoholic liquors at any place in the State. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 30 days.




Georgia law, Official Code of Georgia 3-3-23


(1) No person knowingly, directly or through another person, shall furnish, cause to be furnished, or permit any person in such person's employ to furnish any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age


(2) No person under 21 years of age shall purchase, attempt to purchase, or knowingly possess any alcoholic beverage


(3) No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent such person's age in any manner whatever for the purpose of obtaining illegally any alcoholic beverage;


(4) No person knowingly or intentionally shall act as an agent to purchase or acquire any alcoholic beverage for or on behalf of a person under 21 years of age


(5) No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent his or her identity or use any false identification for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage.


(b) The prohibitions contained in paragraphs (1), (2), and (4) ... shall not apply with respect to the sale, purchase, or possession of alcoholic beverages for consumption: (1) For medical purposes pursuant to a prescription of a physician duly authorized ... in this state; or (2) At a religious ceremony.

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budstan
0
Points
budstan 05/18/07 - 01:54 am
0
0
These laws should be

These laws should be unlawful! For every other circumstance, a person quits being a minor at age 18. They can vote for the idiots who enact these laws, join the military and die, be held liable for entering into a contract, serve on jury duty, even run for and hold elected office, and if they commit murder, they may even be tried as adults at 13. To say they are adults in every other sense of the word, except for being able to purchase and possess alcohol should be unlawful itself. Age 18, 19, and 20 year olds are being dicriminated against here! I thought age discrimination was against the law! What next? Let's go after the 80 year olds, and the 70 year olds! They shouldn't be able to drink either! And politicians and judges should never be able to buy or possess alcohol, no matter what their age!

Reality
3
Points
Reality 05/18/07 - 05:26 am
0
0
Just look at the money that

Just look at the money that is made in fines and tickets on a National level. The ages were set by insurance companies.

whyme
2070
Points
whyme 05/18/07 - 07:04 am
0
0
The current law says no

The current law says no drinking under 18. Period. 18 is one thing, 15, 16, 17 is another. What is wrong with the parents who allow their children to attend "parties" knowing that alcohol will be available? I know plenty of folks that say, "well, my child's a good kid, we drank in high school, everyone does it." Same folks that think it's so sad that the kids having underage sex shouldn't be punished.

devonae
0
Points
devonae 05/18/07 - 07:12 am
0
0
We should teach our kids to

We should teach our kids to RESPECT the laws. Even if you do not agree with them, they should be respected. If you heartily disagree, then instead of BREAKING the law, you should take steps to CHANGE the law. I, for one, think that the drinking age is more than appropriate. Kids reach different levels of responsibility at different times. Your 13 yr old may be tried as an adult, does that mean that they are experienced enough and have enough common sense and knowledge to start driving on the streets? At 13, they DO have a "developing" sense of right and wrong, but that doesn't mean that they are completely there!
And by the way, 30 days in jail and/or $200 fine, is that all YOUR kids are worth!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! We may have the right to give our kids alcohol in our own home, but unless a parent has a WRITTEN, SIGNED & even NOTARIZED letter of approval from the parent of every other child they serve then they deserve MUCH more punishment than that. My kids are certainly worth more to me than $200.00 !!!

NoGoodReason
0
Points
NoGoodReason 05/18/07 - 07:57 am
0
0
WHAT! I've been in the

WHAT! I've been in the insurance industry for over 15 years and I had no idea we were law makers too. Wow now that I know I have the power to make laws my options are endless.. I hope the state knows that I have the power to make laws and not just enforce them which was the impression me and the rest of the world were under. Gotta go I got big plans.. : )

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/18/07 - 08:35 am
0
0
I may have to move to South

I may have to move to South Carolina. Our children have been getting wine and champaign on special occasions in our home since they were pretty small, in tiny to small amounts and usually watered down before they were 18. When they've hit high school and college, drinking is absolutely passé to them. They don't drink and drive, ever, and they don't get in a car if the driver has had anything at all that evening. If you teach them how to view alcohol and how to deal with it from an early age, they don't have issues with it when they're on their own. I KNOW, there are exceptions, probably based on genetic predispositions, but this method has worked succesfully for generations throughout my very large extended family.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 05/18/07 - 08:54 am
0
0
If you don't think that the

If you don't think that the insurance lobbyists get laws pushed through the system you are a bit naive. Examples: speed limits, helmet laws, smoking laws,drinking age, dui laws, prescription costs,insurance coverage (small print in policies) just to name a few....

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 05/18/07 - 08:59 am
0
0
The law is pretty clear to me

The law is pretty clear to me , and as a parent I would not have appreciated my sons being served alcohol by anyone, especially an adult. Although it is not my custom, it seems as if Worried About Our Future is trying to teach responsibility - those parents who serve alcohol at end of school parties exhibit NO responsibility and put not only those young people at risk but also anyone else who might meet them on the road. A few weeks ago in a town near Athens several young people attended an after prom party at a private home where alcohol was served. One of the young men, an outstanding student, who was not a regular drinker of alcohol, drank too much, became a little wasted and after having a few confrontations lay down on the couch to sleep it off. No one there bothered to check on him and he was found dead the next afternoon. IN another incident, a UGA fraternity is at risk of losing its charter because of a similar incident. Being served alcohol seems to me to be the worst possible "rite of passage" into adulthood. I don't understand ANY parent who would risk the life of a young person by being so irresponsible as to serve alcohol at a party in his or her home.

rj1960j10
14
Points
rj1960j10 05/18/07 - 09:18 am
0
0
What good does it do. The law

What good does it do. The law states they can give alcohol to their own kids as long as its at the house or yard. Peple complain about buying smokes for kids but hey give them a shot.

devonae
0
Points
devonae 05/18/07 - 09:27 am
0
0
To Worried about our Future.

To Worried about our Future. You have every right to raise your children in the manner that you choose and to expose them to whatever you choose. When you extend that choice to the children of OTHERS then you have taken a step that is WAY out of line. You are responsible for the choices you make for your children and you should never be presumptious enough to think that the choices you make for your child are the proper choices for someone else's child. Try looking in the faces of the grieving parents from last weekends Columbia Co. accident that killed several kids and explain to that to them. Giving your children a sip of wine or champagne at the family table or holiday is a far cry from setting up a keg in your backyard for a bunch of kids who MAY or MAY NOT act responsibly thereafter. Kudos to your kids for their responsible behavior, but as evident by last weekend's events, not all behave as responsibly.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/18/07 - 09:29 am
0
0
Ditto, COASTALDAWG. I'm with

Ditto, COASTALDAWG. I'm with you on that stuff. There were 3 "party weekends" every year where I went to college, formerly an all male private university in Tennessee, and they were wild. Every few years a student or two died in a DUI wreck or from driving off the side of the mountain. Not very long ago one poor kid flew his car into a deep ravine and was missing for more than a year. Most of the alcohol-related problems that I saw happened because the kids didn't have any experience with how alcohol affected them before they were faced with irresistable peer pressure to consume large volumes of it. As irresponsible as it is to serve someone else's child a drink, I believe it is just as irresponsible not to teach your own children how to deal with any occasion or situation that includes alcohol, legally or illegally provided.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/18/07 - 09:31 am
0
0
Georgia law as it currently

Georgia law as it currently is written on that subject, I might add, actually prevents doing that training legally. Predictably short-sighted, IMO.

Galan Lewis
0
Points
Galan Lewis 05/18/07 - 09:45 am
0
0
COASTALDAWG, Not that I an

COASTALDAWG, Not that I an agreeing with under-age drinking but, that is not exactly what happened to the kid in Athens, he was involved in a fight earlier in the night, check out the story on AJC http://www.ajc.com/search/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/2007/05/13/0513..., they are not sure if the drinking actually killed him, for injuries from the fight earlier that night.

NoGoodReason
0
Points
NoGoodReason 05/18/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
Honestly, you are naive if

Honestly, you are naive if you think the insurance industry is the only industry out there that lobbies to get laws passed. Also just because you suggest making a law it still has to voted in by the people you elected. It's easy to play the blame game, but when it comes right down to it static’s show that law was made to protect you, your family members and the rest of society. If you haven’t lost a loved one personally as a result of underage drinkers or at least know someone that was affected by a loss like that it's just a matter of time before you do.

reruns
0
Points
reruns 05/18/07 - 10:51 am
0
0
If they are old enought to

If they are old enought to vote and send to war then they should be able to consume alcohol.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/18/07 - 11:16 am
0
0
I agree with you, KITTYPOO.

I agree with you, KITTYPOO. Let's make the age limit 21 on all three.

NoGoodReason
0
Points
NoGoodReason 05/18/07 - 11:29 am
0
0
I agree with that too....

I agree with that too....

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 05/18/07 - 11:40 am
0
0
I agree WAOF!!!!

I agree WAOF!!!!

shepster
0
Points
shepster 05/18/07 - 11:44 am
0
0
Many people think schools &

Many people think schools & laws are proxy to parenting. NOT SO

HOPE
0
Points
HOPE 05/18/07 - 01:03 pm
0
0
Like always you can vote, die

Like always you can vote, die for your country, and about anything else except drink. You can't buy acohol on sunday at a grocery store but you can go to any resturant buy some food and drink to your hearts content legaly. Hmm double standard? Our government is still full of moron's.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 05/18/07 - 01:23 pm
0
0
It is not ALWAYS the fault of

It is not ALWAYS the fault of the parent. Apparently, the lady in this article arrived home, finding a party in progress, and took the alcoholic beverages from the kyds there. She had not gone into the back yard where the keg was found. I do not feel that she is responsible for the acts of the kyds at the party. If you want to blame the parents, then arrest the parents of every kyd at the "party" for not ensuring that their child would exhibit the responsible behaviors that they were taught. Years ago, it was fashionable to blame the parents, especially the mothers; it is sad that there is a reversal to that fallacy. People need to understand that by permitting one to blame another aborts the acceptance of one's own actions.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 05/18/07 - 01:46 pm
0
0
To respond to the story about

To respond to the story about the young man in Athens - it IS true that he was involved in a fight earlier in the night, brought on by his drinking (friends say he wasn't one to drink or be involved in fighting) but at last determination, the fight had nothing to do with his death. Then again, if he hadn't been drinking he wouldn't have been in a fight so . . .Any way you cut it, alcohol contributed to his death in a major way and the people in that house are responsible for having provided him with the alcohol. I do read AJC , too, but they do not always get everything exactly right. My information came from Athens. But thanks, you did help me make my point about providing teenagers with alcohol. His life is over whether it is from alcohol poisoning or from a fight generated by an alcohol induced fight.

NANF
4
Points
NANF 05/18/07 - 01:48 pm
0
0
Just how stupid is the family

Just how stupid is the family that allows underage drinking at their house. Such a no brainer. I guess they are still wondering why they were arrested for it. Duh!!!!!!

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 05/18/07 - 01:52 pm
0
0
AS to the populus having to

AS to the populus having to "vote in laws", that is far from the truth unless that law involves a constitutional issue. Our representatives pass a bill and the governor either signs the bill making it law or he vetoes it. That is why it is SO important to know everything you can about the persons you elect to government from the lowest level right up to the President of the United States. Currently the population is learning that tough lesson from the circus like actions of the County Commission. I'll bet voters pay more attention to detail the next time around.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 05/18/07 - 02:15 pm
0
0
nanafetter: In Europe,

nanafetter: In Europe, alcohol is served daily to the children of the household; in Germany, they have even put the beer in the baby's bottle [and German beer is more potent than what the US brews]. That is their culture, but not ours. Additionally, many countries do not have speed limits, but don't have an accident or you will be sorry of it! It has been my understanding that in Mexico, or at least certain areas of that country, when there is an auto accident, everyone in the cars are arrested and charged--I guess that is the epitome of "no fault!" At any rate, what our national culture dictates is not necessarily the dictates of another nation's culture. I guess our view of what is right or wrong puts all of us in the "no brainer" category from an Europeans perspective.

TMI
0
Points
TMI 05/18/07 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Why is alcohol so important?

Why is alcohol so important? Just dont drink.....

bone
23
Points
bone 05/18/07 - 02:54 pm
0
0
by the way, european

by the way, european countries are reporting serious problems with alcoholism in their younger generations these days. maybe the "drink at any age" idea isn't so good after all...

Color blind31
0
Points
Color blind31 05/18/07 - 03:00 pm
0
0
As a Former Substance Abuse

As a Former Substance Abuse Nurse it's sad..the number of Client who have told me they were introduced to Alcohol and Drugs by their own parents.

class1
299
Points
class1 05/18/07 - 03:58 pm
0
0
It is great to see that the

It is great to see that the Coumbia County officials are finally going to enforce the drinking laws. There are some parents in this county and Spring Lakes subdivision that think they are above the law. Those parties have been going on there for years. They are just lucky no one has died leaving these parties.

ListenAndLearn
0
Points
ListenAndLearn 05/18/07 - 04:02 pm
0
0
I wasn't aware that the

I wasn't aware that the accident on Harlem Grovetown Rd. was alcohol related. I assume that's the accident that devonae was referring to.

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