Adults who knowingly provide a place for underage kids to drink will now be breaking the law.
Providing alcohol to a minor is a class B misdemeanor in Indiana, but providing minors with a place to drink wasn’t illegal until now. Legislation unanimously approved by the General Assembly this session makes that a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines up to one thousand dollars.
Lisa Hutcheson, director for the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, says parents shouldn’t think the dangers of underage drinking are reduced if they’re allowing kids to drink in their home, with supervision.
“We can’t be naïve to think that those underage drinkers are only drinking in your home,” said Hutcheson. “In fact, research shows that they’re more likely to engage in other high risk behaviors like drinking and driving and drinking elsewhere.”
Hutcheson says applying the law only to adults who knowingly provide a place for minors to drink was an important key to getting the measure through the General Assembly:
“We are not out to get parents who may not have any idea of what’s going on in their home,” said Hutcheson. “But this also gives law enforcement an extra tool to investigate those parties, whether adults are present or not.”
Hutcheson says she hopes the new penalty can generate discussion about underage drinking between parents and children.