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State Law In


What does state law say?

It is a violation of the law to knowingly or intentionally supply alcohol to a person who is underage.

Settings covered include premises or property owned or controlled by the host.

What happens if an adult breaks the law?

Adults who are charged with this violation face a fine of not more than $2,000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of one year.

Can adult do anything to rescind the violation?

Not addressed.

Can the adult be sued?

The State of Massachusetts has not enacted a law regarding civil penalties for social hosting.  In the absence of a statute, case law is mixed.  In McGuiggan v. New England Telephone & Telegraph Co.,37, the Court recognized that social hosts are liable to a third person, if the social host knew the guest was drunk and permitted him to consume alcohol. Other court decisions have pointed out that control of the liquor supply is the dominant consideration in determining liability. This is based on the common law principle of negligence. A parent who allows a party at her house knowing that alcohol will be present, whether she is home or not, is not civilly liable if a third party is injured unless the parent actually serves the alcohol to the children.

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Are there local laws that I should be aware of?

It is possible. Check with your local municipality since there are some communities that enact additional local ordinances which can include fines and other penalties.