Open House Party
If you are over 18 and allowed minors to possess Drugs or Alcohol, you need proper legal representation. Call Palm Beach County Law Firm Bottari & Doyle at 561-588-2781.
Definition of Open House Party
To convict a defendant of having an open house party at trial, the state must prove all of the following elements to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant was 18 years of age or older.
- The Defendant controlled a residence.
- The Defendant allowed an open house party at the residence.
- A minor possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage or drug at the residence during the open house party.
- The Defendant knew that the minor possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage or drug at the residence during the open house party.
- The Defendant failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage or drug by the minor at the residence during the open house party.
Additionally, if the defendant’s behavior caused or contributed to causing serious bodily injury, or death to the minor, or if the minor causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury or death to another as a result of the minor’s consumption of alcohol or drugs at the open house party, the defendant commits a first degree misdemeanor. This additional element would also have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
- “Alcoholic Beverage” means distilled spirits of any beverage containing 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume.
- “Control” means the authority or ability to regulate, direct, or dominate.
- “Drug” means a controlled substance.
- “Minor” means a person under 21.
- “Open House Party” means a social gathering at a residence. The term does not include the use of alcoholic beverages at a legally protected religious observance or activities.
- “Residence” means a home, apartment, condominium or dwelling unit.
- “Serious Bodily Injury” means an injury to any person which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Penalties for Open House Party
Pursuant to Florida Statute 856.015, a person who is in violation of the open house party statute commits a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months of probation, 60 days in jail as a condition of probation, and a $500 fine.
A person who is in violation of the open house party statute which causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury, or death to the minor, or if the minor causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury or death to another as a result of the minor’s consumption of alcohol or drugs at the open house party commits a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year of probation, one year in jail as a condition of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Defenses to Open House Party
An Open House Party charge is highly defendable, simply based on the wording of the statute and the number of elements that the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant of the crime. The following are a list of possible defenses.
- Was the person in possession or control of drugs or alcohol actually a minor?
- Can the state prove the minor’s age?
- Did the defendant actually know a minor was consuming or in possession of drugs or alcohol? (ex. Was the defendant in another room while the open house party was happening?)
- Did the defendant take reasonable steps to prevent the minor from consuming or possessing drugs or alcohol?
- Can the state produce the necessary witnesses to prove the charge?
- Did the defendant have control of the residence?
If you have been charged with having an Open House Party in Palm Beach County, Martin County, or Broward County please do not hesitate to contact a Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Bottari & Doyle at (561)-588-2711 for a free consultation.