“None of us want to see a celebration marred by the death of a student or someone else caused by the consumption of alcohol by a minor.”

That, in a nutshell, is the message of a recent letter (open a PDF copy here, Schuyler County Graduation Letter) sent by Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary to parents of high school seniors in Schuyler County’s three school districts.

District Attorney Fazzary is a good guy and a friend of mine. I think he is spot-on in providing this warning letter to the public. Local news agencies have reported on the letter: WETM‘s NaveenDhaliwal posted “Schuyler County DA Warning Parents of Underage Drinking” and it was also covered in the Finger Lakes Daily News and Finger Lakes Daily Radio and the Odessa File. Now, with a copy of the letter provided by Fazzary, I’m doing my part in spreading the word.

Strict penalties for lenient parents

One of the most important points Fazzary makes in his letter is that there is a common misconception that parents can legally host a drinking party for their child and his or her friends. This is NOT TRUE.

It is NEVER legal for ANY adult to provide alcohol to someone else’s child – and no parent can grant “permission” for their child to drink alcohol provided by someone else.

The letter outlines the possible punishments for providing a child with alcohol: A fine of up to $1,ooo (plus a $165 court surcharge), up to 3 years of probation and up to 1 year in jail.

Furthermore, a parent/party host’s responsibility doesn’t stop at the end of the driveway. Someone who serves alcohol to underage drinkers can be sued for monetary damages in a personal injury lawsuit, if an accident was a result of intoxication or impairment.

District Attorney Fazzary makes a very compelling argument with these and other examples of the risks incurred by families that permit underage drinking. He also shares some sincere congratulations to the parents and graduating seniors.

His letter is an appeal all parents should heed to reduce the incidence of an all-too-avoidable tragedy. As he writes, “One night of revelry is not worth a lifetime of regret.”

Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com