How can I be charged with Furnishing when my roomates hosted the party?
Many people try to argue that they can’t be charged and prosecuted for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor in Pennslylvania is they didn’t host a party and purchase and supply alcohol to the underage attendees. Regrettably, they are wrong in that assumption. First, a Pennsylvania charge of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.1 prohibits a person from “furnishing” alcohol to an underage person. Furnish generally requires that a person give or supply the alcohol, BUT the legal definitation of “furnishing” as set forth in section 6310.6 of the Crimes Code includes to “allow a minor to possess on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.” Therefore, if a person allows someone to drink at their apartment, that is “furnishing.”
People then argue that they didn’t host the party, their roommates did, and they are not responsible for the actions of their roommates. In the case of Commonwealth v. Lawson, the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected this argument. In the case, a Penn State student argued that his conviction of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor must be reversed because he did not have complete legal control over the apartment and thereby could not order his roommates to stop a party at which underagers were drinking. In denying the appeal and upholding the convictions, the court noted that the student actively participated in the party by drinking with the guests, and his actions condoned the underage drinking.