In the State of Florida, Open House Party is a criminal charge based on an individual allowing minors to consume drugs and/or alcohol in which the individual allowed the minors at his or her residence. Gainesville is one of the most prominent college towns in the state of Florida which boasts noteworthy colleges and universities, such as the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. As such, many students facilitate and/or attend open house parties.
Unfortunately, these sort of parties are often unsafe to minors and can have devastating impacts and severe legal implications. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a violation of Open House Party in Florida, contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
How Is Open House Party Defined?
Florida Statute § 856.015 defines Open House Party as “a person having control of any residence may not allow an open house party to take place at the residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at the residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcohol or drug.”
In the case that the party host does not know that someone under the age of 21 is consuming alcohol at his or her party, but he or she did not take any steps to prevent underage people from entering the party and accessing his alcohol, then he or she may also be in violation of the open house party statute.
The following five elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt against an individual who is charged with an Open House Party offense.
- The individual has control over a residence
- The individual allowed a party to take place at the residence
- Drugs and/or alcohol were consumed by minors
- With control of the residence, the individual knew minors were consuming drugs/and or alcohol at the party
- Despite his or her knowledge, the individual failed to take reasonable measures to prevent minors from possessing or consuming drugs and/or alcohol.
What Are The Penalties To Open House Parties?
The first offense for Open House Party, in which there were no physical injuries to minors, is a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, 6 months of probation and/or a $500 fine. Any subsequent violation is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail, 12 months of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine.
Law Enforcement may arrest an individual for a violation of this statute or he or she may issue a notice to appear. If you’re charged with an Open House Party offense, it’s imperative that you contact a Gainesville attorney for aggressive and thorough legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected. We work hard for the best possible result for your case.