Being a host at a party, wedding or other social event comes with plenty of responsibilities, including providing enough food, drink or other refreshments to guests. Hosting can be a passion, or one of those roles we dread with all of the work that goes into the planning and then having to deal with the situations that may go wrong. In states like Mississippi, there can be even more pressure on a party host, especially where alcohol is concerned. In this season of graduation parties and summer fun, Mississippi residents need to remember that alcohol and underage drinkers do not mix.
Mississippi has tough “social host” laws regarding minors who are knowingly served alcohol by an adult; if you give a teenager a beer, you’re looking at fine of $1000 or even 90 days in county jail. A glass of wine for an underage college student at a family reunion will create the same difficult situation for an adult. If it’s your kid that gets charged with a DUI, you may even get to share the frustration of an ignition interlock on your car. So much for party planning!
Social host laws help prevent underage drinking, and with good reason – the laws reduce the number of underage drinking and driving incidents. Teen drivers already have a tough time being safe when driving, and when they mix in alcohol, they could be looking at a serious criminal charge, destruction of lives, or at the very least, an ignition interlock on the family car. The best way to plan a party where minors are present is to keep the alcohol out of the cooler and away from the buffet table. No alcohol means no risk of violating Mississippi social host laws, drinking and driving, and never learning how to use your son’s or daughter’s ignition interlock.