What was supposed to be the most lit homecoming party of the year in Flagler County, Florida was quickly shut down by the Sheriff’s Office once it got word of the event. According to news reports, the party was being promoted on social media and was telling minors to bring their own booze and weed to the house party. An 18-year-old who was promoting the event blasted on social media that her house party had a cover charge and was selling $2 shots and $4 mixed drinks. The flyer for the party advised guests to “leave the drama at home.”
The House Party Bust
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was able to shut down the party just as it was getting started and before any drama happened, according to reports from officials. Law enforcement acted on a tip they received and were called to the address on the social medial flyer, located at Rolling Sands Drive. Officers found a group of minors, with one young man in particular stumbling out of the house’s yard with a bottle of Svedka in his hand. The teen was arrested and, according to the report, had heard about the party on Snapchat.
Deputies then asked to speak with the homeowner and met with the female promoting the party on social media. The 18-year-old said the owner, her grandmother, was asleep, and denied alcohol was being served. Law enforcement showed the 18-year-old her social media flyer as well as posts depicting her with bottles of liquor. The woman was already on juvenile probation. She was arrested and charged with hosting a house party, contributing to child delinquency, and violating probation. Deputies ensured the guests returned to their homes safely.
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Open House Parties and Florida Law
Under Florida law, hosting an open house party is illegal. The basis for this criminal charge is an individual allowing minors to consume alcohol and/or drugs at an event permitted on the person’s home. Section 856.015, Florida Statutes, states that someone who has control of a home is prohibited from permitting an open house party to take place in the home if any drug or alcoholic beverage is consumed or possessed by any minor where the owner knows this is happening and fails to take reasonable steps to prevent it. Prosecutors must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the crime of an open house party was committed:
- The defendant had control over the home
- The defendant allowed a party to occur at the home
- Minors consumed drugs or alcohol at the home
- The defendant, while in control of the home, knew that minors were in possession of or consuming drugs and/or alcohol
- The defendant, despite his or her knowledge, failed to take reasonable steps to prevent minors from possessing or consuming drugs and/or alcohol
Penalties in Florida for the crime of an open house party where no minors were physically injured include up to 60 days in jail for a first offense of a second degree misdemeanor. For a second or subsequent offense, which is a first degree misdemeanor, penalties include up to one year in jail. If a minor present at the open house party causes or contributes to the death or bodily harm of another, the crime becomes a first degree misdemeanor.
Central Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been charged with hosting an open house party, or any other criminal act, contact Bogin, Munns & Munns. With more than 40 years of experience defending the rights of others across the state of Florida, we will provide the best defense available. Contact us today to speak with our criminal defense attorneys.