Open House Party

Home to the University of Central Florida (UCF), Rollins College, and Valencia College, to name a few, Orlando has no shortage of ambitious young adults. However, when class isn’t in session, you’re likely to catch many of them unwinding at a friend’s house with music blasting and drinks being passed around. College students are no strangers to house parties and they’re generally harmless; that is, however, until minors become involved.

Minors often find their way into house parties, since it’s one of the few places they can get into without their ID being checked. This is a common occurrence; there are always young college students and high school students with older friends. In either case, the individual who controls the residence should be wary of this, since the presence of minors at their house party could result in criminal charges.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal prosecution for hosting a house party where minors consumed drugs or alcohol, be sure to secure experienced legal counsel. The Orlando open house party defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have extensive experience representing individuals facing serious criminal charges. Allow us to help settle your legal matter on the most favorable terms.

What is an “Open House Party” in Florida?

An “open house party” is a social gathering at a residence and a “minor,” pursuant to chapter 856, is anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 years old. Florida Statute § 856.015(2) defines the crime of Open House Party as:

“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.”

To get a conviction for the crime, the prosecution must be able to prove the following five elements:

  • You had control over a residence
  • You allowed a party to occur at the residence
  • Minors consumed drugs or alcohol at the residence
  • You, while in control of the residence, knew minors were consuming drugs or alcohol
  • You, despite knowing, failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of drugs or alcohol by minors.

An individual caught in violation of this statute can face criminal penalties that intensify depending on the presence of certain factors.

Florida Penalties for Hosting an Open House Party

The penalties for hosting an open house party where minors consumed or possessed drugs or alcohol are as follows.

No Physical Injuries to Minors

An open house party where there are no physical injuries to minors is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 in fines

Second or Subsequent Offense

If you have previously been convicted for hosting an open house party where minors consumed or possessed alcohol or drugs, your second or subsequent charge will be a first-degree misdemeanor (regardless of the presence of injuries) punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Death or Bodily Injuries to a Minor

The offense of Open House Party where a minor who attended the party causes or contributes to the death or bodily injury of a minor who also attended is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Defending Against Open House Party Charges

Being that there are five essential elements the State must prove to get a conviction, it’s most important that you employ legal counsel from an attorney who can help dismantle the State’s case. The Orlando open house party defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are former state and local prosecutors with more than 100 years of combined experience. 

We regularly use our extensive legal resources, including the hiring of a private investigator, to uncover facts about the incident that can help clear your name. 

Let our team of Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyers go to work for you. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.