Its official — after a vote on Thursday, July 2, Dawson County adults can now be fined for knowingly hosting underage drinkers. This makes Dawson County the second in the state with such an ordinance, following the actions of Cobb County. Only one member of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, Jimmy Hamby, voted against the new ordinance, claiming that responsibility lies with "the young people who are drinking” and adding that “parents are not responsible for everything.”
However, the other three Commissioners disagreed, and passed the ordinance 3-1. The predominant feeling was perhaps best summed up by “Be the Key” coordinator Tiffany Davis, who stated that the ordinance “is about holding adults liable if they make a damaging decision for another parent’s child.” This sentiment was echoed by Family Connection coordinator Nancy Stites and Dawson County Sherriff Billy Carlisle in their statements before the board. This ordinance will not apply to parents who allow their own children to drink alcohol.
Under this new ordinance, adults can be subjected to penalties including:
- First offense — up to $1000 fine
- Second offense — minimum $500 fine
- Third offense — minimum $1000 fine
Prior to the hearings, the main arguments against the ordinance were centered on private property rights. However, no one spoke in opposition of the ordinance during the first of the public hearings.
Naturally, this ordinance raises some serious legal questions. Can a parent be held responsible if they aren’t present at the time? How enforceable is this? What evidence is required for a conviction?
Are You Facing Fines? Call a Georgia Lawyer
These issues and more will certainly be brought into question as this ordinance takes effect. If you're facing fines as a result of underage drinking in your home, contact a Georgia defense attorney. We can help craft a strong defense that eliminates these fines and helps clear your name.
Call Richman Law Firm at (678) 829-2826 or fill out a free case evaluation.