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Sheriff Urges Public to be Aware of Underage Drinking in Homes

Categories: | Author: sheriff sheriff | Posted: 11/22/2016 | Views: 1826

RIVERHEAD, NY– Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco wants to remind residents that Deputy Sheriffs will be on the lookout for people driving under the influence throughout the holiday season.  “I want everyone to have a safe holiday with their family members and friends, so I urge everyone to make appropriate travel plans, and to keep an eye out for anyone who may be drinking while socializing over Thanksgiving and the December holiday period,” stated Sheriff DeMarco.  He added, “We should all have zero tolerance for drunk drivers.  If you know someone has had too much to drink, don’t let them get behind the wheel."

Sheriff DeMarco also wants to remind parents of teenagers and college students who may be home visiting during school breaks that Suffolk’s Social Host Law holds parents responsible for allowing anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol at a party or gathering in their home.  “There are legal repercussions for anyone who turns a blind eye to underage drinking.  Underage drinking can lead to injuries, fatal car accidents, and other risky behaviors, and letting them drink in the privacy of your home often doesn’t prevent or stop these teens from drinking elsewhere,” said DeMarco.   

The Sheriff’s Office offers speakers who can come out into the community to talk about the Social Host Law and further educate parents and young people about the dangers of underage drinking, and its legal implications.  To request a speaker from the Sheriff’s Office, visit, and click on the “Community Programs Request Form” on the left menu bar.

Suffolk County’s Social Host Law:

  • Holds parents – and adults over 18 -- responsible for allowing anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol at a party or gathering in their home, apartment, an RV, a hotel or in the yard. 
  • The Social Host Law uses broad language, but it also gives parents and other responsible adults some leeway to take prompt action to stop the drinking in their home or other premises.  For example, while it is illegal to knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol by a minor in your presence, you can and should take appropriate and “reasonable corrective action” to stop an underage person from drinking. Reasonable corrective action includes:

o   Making a prompt demand that they stop drinking the alcoholic beverage or leave the premises;

o   If they refuse to leave or stop drinking alcohol, you are expected to report the matter to local law enforcement; or to any other person with a greater degree of authority over the minor, such as their parent or guardian.

  • The failure to act promptly to stop minors from drinking on your premises can result in fines or even criminal charges.  
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