The party at my place was BYOB, so how can I be charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor?

Many people mistakenly believe that they can avoid criminal charges for Furnising Alcohol to a Minor if they host an underage drinking party but do not actually supply the alcohol, so a bring your own booze (BYOB) party. Regrettably, they are wrong, and ignorance of the law is NOT a defense.

Legal Definition of “Furnish”

The normal definition of “furnish” does mean to give or to supply.  The problem is that the law is NOT normal, so there is a legal definition for the word “furnish.”  Under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.6, the Crimes Code defines “furnishing” to include to “allow a minor to possess on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.” Therefore, by allowing a minor drink on their property, a person can be charged and convicted of Furnising Alcohol to a Minor.  Telling one’s friends to BYOB will not prevent a Penn State student from being charged with Furnishing.

Also, it should be noted that claiming that a person didn’t host the party or invited guests to the party is not a defense if the person lived at the apartment and attended the party. The law places a duty on the person actively stop underage drinking from occuring.  Obviously, if the person is not home and is therefore unaware of the party, then the person is not legally responsible. A person cannot stop underage drinking if he or she is not aware that it is occurring.

Contact experienced State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle for a free consultation regarding Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor or other criminal charges.  He has been representing Penn State students since 2004.  Reach him via email or leave a message at (814) 689-9139.