Friday, April 29, 2011

Texas Woman Sentenced to Probation for Underage Drinking in Her Home

If you are the parent of a child who has not yet reached the age of twenty-one and that child asks you to make alcohol accessible in your home for his friends, the answer always needs to be "Absolutely not!" Your decision to offer your kids alcohol or, at the very least, leave it somewhere that they can drink it without your knowledge, can result in legal consequences and, even worse, human tragedy. Just ask Hutto, Texas resident Donna Crites.

Crites was arrested last year after her son and some of his underage friends made Jell-O shots in her home and then one of the consumers of the shots, who was only nineteen, drove his car into a utility pole and three of the five passengers in the car were ejected. Several of the young men and women suffered brain damage, one is partially blind, and another endured multiple fractures.

While the underage drinkers testified that Crites directly handed the alcohol to them, she maintains that she did not actively take part in the drinking preparation but did leave rum available in an accessible location. She was sentenced to three years' probation and must pay restitution to the accident victims. She also will serve three days in jail, followed by two additional days on the anniversary of the crash for the next two years.

What do you think is the responsibility of the parent in such situations? If she is truthful in insisting she just left the alcohol where her son could find it, does that mean that parents should not have alcohol in the house at all when minors are present? Or, does there just need to be more discretion in how the alcohol is handled?

If you are facing criminal charges, from a misdemeanor to the most serious of felonies, the criminal defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Every person, regardless of the crimes for which he or she is being accused, deserves thorough and aggressive representation. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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