If Batesville police were called to a drinking party involving teens and parents were at home, would the adults be charged? Police Chief Stan Holt answers, “Yes, if the parents are knowingly allowing kids to drink alcohol in their homes.”
Adults would be arrested for furnishing alcohol to a minor, a Class B misdemeanor. That would be raised to a Class A misdemeanor if the person had been charged with that offense before. The charge would be much more serious, a Class D felony, “if the use of alcohol is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury or death – if somebody at the party gets hurt in any way.”
If the person is found guilty or enters a guilty plea, the possible sentence for a Class D felony is a prison term of six months to three years and up to a $10,000 fine, according to him.
The chief reflects, “I think that most parents do a pretty good job at obeying the law and not furnishing alcohol. I know we still have parents out there” who look at drinking at an early age as a southeastern Indiana rite of passage. They think, “‘We did it when we were kids and we all turned out OK.’”
Serving alcohol to minors can greatly affect the providers and imbibers. He notes, “Looking at the big picture, it can destroy their lives. If a teenager leaves (the gathering) and gets hurt or killed … now that person (who offered liquor) is getting charged with a felony ... (If the youth) gets involved in an accident three hours later … (after) drinking, that person is absolutely going to have civil liability there on top of the criminal” charge.
Holt urges area residents, “Don’t take that chance on destroying your life. Be the adult. Don’t allow it. Just say no.”