Open House Parties
By itself, organizing an open house party is legal in the state of Florida. The criminal component necessitating the Open House Party Law is when minors are allowed to consume alcohol, drugs, or both at an open house party. In this scenario, the organizer of the party is liable to be charged according to the Open House Party Law.
The nature of the law is such that it is often resolved with a dismissal or without a technical conviction. However, it is a criminal offense and a conviction would warrant placing the conviction in the convicted individual’s criminal record; which hurts the professional standing and reputation of the convicted individual.
The state and local officials, due to the nature of the law, have advised schools and parents to avoid making alcohol available in parties where minors are expected to be present, for example high school graduation parties. This should be enforced even if such open house party is organized by adults such as parents, who may have the notion that they would be able to supervise or control the use of alcohol by minors or prevent them from driving drunk, especially those under 21. The penalties for allowing underage drinking have been increased in recent years.
Under Florida Statutes, the law forbids an individual having control of any residence to allow an open house party to take place at the residence if any minor at the residence is in possession or have consumed or is in the process of consuming any alcoholic beverage or drug, including prescription drugs; where
- The individual having control of the residence is aware that a minor at the residence is in possession or have consumed or is in the process of consuming any alcoholic beverage or drug; and
- The individual having control of the residence fails to take reasonable steps to prevent a minor at the residence from possessing or consuming the alcoholic beverage or drug
Elements of the Florida Open House Party Law
Under Florida State Law, conviction of the open house party may occur when five factual elements have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements include:
- The defendant had control over the residence where the crime occurred
- The defendant gave his willful discretion that the open house party should progress at the residence
- Minors at the residence consumed alcoholic beverages or drugs
- The defendant while in control over the residence where the crime occurred had knowledge that minors at the residence were consuming drugs or alcohol beverages
- The defendant while in control over the residence where the crime occurred, despite his/her knowledge, failed to take rational steps to prevent minors at the party from the possession or consumption of drugs or alcoholic beverages
The category and nature (degree) of the charge pegged on the defendant is related to if
- There were or were no physical injuries to or death of minors
- It was or was not the first offense of the defendant
If there were no physical injuries to minors;
- First Offense: Misdemeanor of the Second Degree
- Second or Subsequent Offence: Misdemeanor of the First Degree
If there was bodily injury to or death of a minor who was present at the open house party, the defendant will be charged with Misdemeanor of the First Degree regardless of if the defendant has or has not committed the crime before.
Misdemeanor of Second Degree
- Prison time: Maximum of 60 (Sixty) days
Misdemeanor of First Degree
- Prison time: Maximum of 1 (One) year
Kenneth Padowitz – Broward Criminal Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime or believe you may be charged in the future, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. specializes in criminal defense law. Broward criminal defense attorney, Kenneth Padowitz, will provide you with the strategic criminal defense you need. We represent clients throughout Broward and all of South Florida, including: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Parkland, Weston, and Boca Raton. Contact our law office today to discuss this important matter with our Broward criminal lawyer.