Police Remind Parents During Graduation Season of Social Host Ordinance [AUDIO]
In a recent survey, two-thirds of all minor in possession offenders reported that before being arrested, they had consumed their last alcoholic beverage at a private residence.
With high school graduation parties being planned all over Missoula, law enforcement personnel remind parents that Missoula has a "social host ordinance". Public Information Officer, Detective Sergeant Travis Welsh with the Missoula Police Department provides a definition.
"The ordinance make it illegal for anyone to facilitate or encourage alcohol consumption by underage persons on their property inside the city limits," Welsh said. "It also encourages people to do their best to keep underage persons from consuming alcohol. It comes with a pretty stiff penalty with a $100 fine for the first offense and up to $500 for a subsequent offense. More importantly, we'd like to encourage underage persons not to drink, so we can not see DUI crashes this summer that result in injury."
Welsh addresses the supposition by a parent who thinks their child is going to drink anyway, so why not let them do it in their home, where they can keep their eye on them.
"The problem with that thinking is that not everybody lives there, and people have to go home at the end of the night," Welsh said. "If some of those persons are underage and have been drinking, there's a risk once they leave your home that accidents could occur."