Definition of Open House Party
Under Section, 856.015, Florida Statutes, “a person having control of any residence may not allow an open house party to take place at the residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at the residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage or drug.”
In Florida, the crime of Open House Party consists of five factual elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the accused had control over a residence;
- the accused allowed a party to take place at the residence;
- drugs or alcohol were consumed by minors at the residence;
- the accused, while in control over the residence, knew minors were consuming alcohol or drugs; and
- the accused, despite his or her knowledge, failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcohol or drugs.
Penalties for Open House Party
For a first offense where there were no physical injuries to minors, Open House Party is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. For a second or subsequent offense, it is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Where the accused commits the offense of Open House Party and either the party or a minor present at the party causes or contributes to the death or bodily injury of another minor who was present, the offense is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, regardless of whether it was a second offense.
Defenses to Open House Party
Due to the number of factual elements required to prove a charge of Open House Party in Florida, there are innumerable factual and legal defenses that may be raised to contest the charge or avoid a conviction. The attorneys At Sessa Law, P.A. have extensive experience handling public order crimes such as Open House Party. If you have been accused, contact Attorney Steven Sessa for a free consultation.