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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Consumption of alcohol by minors: parental responsibility and liability

Campbell County Attorney, Steve Franzen. 

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By Steven J. Franzen, Campbell County Attorney  

            I think we are all finally starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. The pandemic is hopefully coming to a close, and life is slowly, but surely, returning to the way it used to be. Many have endured severe hardships for the past year. The year 2020 was especially difficult for our youth. I have often thought about all the things that our children had to miss, like sports events, dances, proms, practices and other traditions.  


            It occurred to me that the improving weather, the resumption of in-person activities and the hopeful ending of the pandemic will lead many people to celebrate and gather, especially the youth of the county. It is not my intention to rain on anyone’s parade but I would like to remind everyone of Kentucky’s underage drinking laws and the responsibilities that parents, and other adults, have in complying with those laws.  



First of all, a person must be twenty-one (21) years of age in order to purchase, and consume, any type of alcoholic beverage. We here at the County Attorney’s office are not blind to the fact that people under this age do drink, whether it be at a party, a friend’s house or other locations. Sometimes parents and other adults knowingly facilitate underage drinking. In the past, the County Attorney’s Office has prosecuted parents, coaches and other adults for allowing minors under the age of twenty-one (21) to drink while under their supervision.  


            Most parents know that it is illegal to have a minor consume alcohol while in their home. Some parents may not realize that, in many parts of this county, laws/ordinances have been passed to make the facilitating of underage drinking a criminal offense. It is not a defense to plead ignorance of these laws, punishment will still be brought if the adult knew, or should have known, that the drinking would take place.  


            One example of the penalties for a first offense includes fines that could reach up to $250 while also being placed into jail up to ninety (90) days. A subsequent offense could increase the fine to $500.00 and jail time up to one (1) year.  


            In the event of a personal injury, or damage to property, that occurs from a minor consuming alcohol, a parent could be subjected to severe civil penalties as well as any criminal sanctions that may come from this conduct.  


            It is tempting, especially now that COVID is coming to a close, to allow your child to participate in the party that is being thrown for a multitude of reasons, but the risk of injury or death to students, or other citizens, are too great to even contemplate allowing them to drink alcohol. Knowing of this danger, this office is willing to aggressively prosecute the violations of Kentucky laws/ordinances when they are brought to our attention.  


            We are all looking forward to a 2021 that is better than what we had to endure in 2020. Let us not ruin it by violating our laws on the inappropriate use of alcohol by minors and the responsibilities of parents, or other adults, allowing minors to consume alcohol.  


            I hope this information is interesting and helpful for all residents of Campbell County. If you have any topics you would like to have us address, please contact my office by e-mail at, by phone at 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York Street, Newport, Kentucky 41071. 

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