Story by A.J. Arias
As summer comes into full swing and graduation parties and other festivities take place where alcohol and minors could both be present, the residents of Warwick should remember the Social Host Law. Enacted in March of 2016 by the Orange County Legislature, the Social Host Law was created to deter anyone under the age of 21 from breaking the law by consuming alcohol with the permission of a legal adult.
The law holds anyone who is 18 or older responsible for hosting a party where alcohol is present with heavy fines and possible jail time for repeat offenders. The law states that first time offenders of the law are subjected to a $500 fine and a court ordered completion of an alcohol awareness program and/or an appropriate amount of community service.
A second time offense to the law would then constitute an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 and a jail term, not to exceed one year, or both a fine and imprisonment.
According to the Orange County Youth Development Survey conducted during the 2016-17 school year, 34 percent of all eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders in the Warwick Valley School District who had consumed alcohol had consumed it with their parent’s permission.
Annie Colonna, the Director of Prevention Services at the Warwick Valley Community Center, says that breaking the law is very preventable. She recommends that parents limit the amount of alcohol present in their home to make sure there’s a limitation to access for under age individuals, as well as making sure that they are supervised.
At the time of the law’s enactment, Orange County Sheriff Carl E. Dubois said that the law was created to protect the youth and the future of the community. Making sure residents of Warwick take the right steps to comply with the Social Host Law will ultimately protect the future of the Town.