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Party, Foul? Parents Could Be Penalized for Letting Teens Drink at House Parties

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While many teens opt to host ragers when their parents go out of town, some parents prefer to permit the parties--and the underage drinking--because it's theoretically under their supervision. In Laguna Beach, those parents could be on the hook legally for hosting parties where minors are served alcohol.

The Laguna Beach City Council is expected to resume discussion Tuesday of a proposed ordinance that would make parents subject to a fine if caught throwing a party for their teens where booze is served, according to the OC Register.

Here's how the fines break down:

In the draft of the Laguna Beach ordinance, fines for the first violation would be $500, with the second violation at $750 and subsequent violations at $1,000.
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As proposed, the law doesn't just apply to high schoolers, but parents of minors under 21--so that means college kids who have house parties in the family home. The exceptions would be "religious events and for parents who choose to drink with their children." (The latter raises the question of whether they mean by allowing minors to taste alcohol at the dinner table, or if it's cool if the parents get their party on with their kid and his or her friends, too.)

When discussed at City Council previously, Laguna Beach teens expressed objections. Parents also wondered if they would be held legally responsible for parties thrown without their permission.

Laguna Beach isn't a trailblazer in creating this kind of local law; other cities around the country have done similar, including nearby places like Irvine, Laguna Hills, and Mission Viejo in Orange County.