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Beware of violating social hosting laws

As the school year comes to a close, graduating high school seniors are busy planning celebrations with their families, friends and classmates. While it’s a time for revelry, it’s also a time for responsibility and accountability when it comes to underage drinking.
Members of the A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition recently mailed letters to the parents of Johnson County High School seniors asking for their support in keeping the youth of the county safe by not allowing or providing alcohol at parties and gatherings that are often held celebrating graduation. The letter suggested alternative activities to acknowledging their child’s achievements and to set curfews, even on prom night. Both the A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition Director, Angie Dickens, and Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece signed the letter.
The Action Coalition is also sending out a mass mailing on May 12 to all 8,999 households in Johnson County as a reminder that it is against Tennessee law to provide alcohol to those younger than 21 and the repercussions should someone violate this legislation. Tennessee law clearly states the legal drinking age is 21 years old, and young adults may not purchase nor drink any alcoholic beverage until they have reached this age. A Social Host law passed in 2009 targets adults who purchase or supply alcohol for anyone under the age of 21 years. If convicted of violating this law, offenders could serve up to 100 hours of community service hours; receive jail time or probation and a $2,500 fine. Additionally, they may lose their driving privileges.
Should alcohol provided by an adult and a car accident occurs, the person who supplied the alcohol can be held responsible. If a parent or other adult agrees to host a party and allows alcohol to be on-site and someone is injured or killed, that person is accountable. If it is discovered that an adult provided alcohol or allowed underage people to drink at their home, and even though there may have been no mishaps, that adult can still be held responsible.
Contact A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition at 727-0780 or the sheriff’s department with any questions regarding the Social Hosting law.