Is It Illegal To Give My Underage Kids Alcohol On St. Patrick’s Day?

Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz gives his opinion regarding underage kids drinking alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day in their own home with their parents. It’s not illegal if you’re in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s not illegal under Delaware law for you to give your own kids alcohol. There are a couple of statutes in title 4 Delaware code section 904 that address this law. Watch the full video or read the transcript below for the important details.

Is it Illegal To Give My Underage Kids Alcohol On St. Patrick’s Day?

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today we are going to answer a viewer question from Terry in Wilmington, Delaware. Terry wrote-in and he said, “it is getting ready to be St. Patrick’s Day and I am having a dispute with my spouse. I need you to tell me, is it illegal to give my kids alcohol?” Well Terry, the answer is that it’s not illegal. If you are in Wilmington, Delaware, it’s not illegal under Delaware law for you to give your own kids alcohol. There’s a couple of statutes in Title 4 Delaware code section 904 and we are going to put a link to that in the show notes under this video. Title 4 Delaware code section 904 subsection C and subsection F. Subsection C says, whoever purchases, buys or gives alcoholic liquor for or to a person under the age of 21 years, or knowingly allows a person under his or her supervision and under the age of 21 years to consume alcoholic liquor, shall in addition to the payment of cost be fined for the first offense not less than $100 nor more than $500. They may be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 40 hours in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances and may be imprisoned for not more than 30 days and then it goes on about subsequent offenses.

At the end of that subsection, it contains this language: This subsection shall not apply to religious services or members of the same family within the private home of any of said members. So if you’re in your home Terry and you give alcoholic beverages to your children, then this law doesn’t apply, it’s not illegal for you to do that. Also under Title 4 Delaware code 904 subsection F, that section says that applies to the minor whoever being under the age of 21 years has an alcoholic liquor in his or her possession at any time or consumes or is found to have consumed alcoholic liquor shall have their Delaware driver’s license revoked for a period of 30 days, for the first offense and not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days for each subsequent offense. If the underage person does not have a Delaware driver’s license, they shall be fined $100 for the first offense and not less than $200 nor more than $500 for each subsequent offense. Again, “this section shall not apply to the possession or consumption of alcohol with any religious service or by members of the same family within the private home of any said members.”

So if you are having a St. Patrick’s Day festival at your house, you are in your home, you are inside the house and you give alcoholic beverages to your children, I think you are fine. I do not think that it is going to be illegal for you to do that. I would not do it outside the home. I would not do it to excess. I would not do it with young children. These are just my personal opinions, but if you have a teenager and they want to have a beer on St. Patrick’s Day, I personally do not see anything wrong with it.

I am probably going to get a bunch of hate mail over the internet from parents who do not think their children should have alcohol. But I want to tell you, I grew up in a house where my mother and my grandmother were from Great Britain and I have been drinking beer since I was about 8 or 10 years old. I do not think it has negatively impacted me. You know, I am not drinking and driving. I am not dying from cirrhosis of the liver. I am not having any problems. To me, my own personal opinion is, if you normalize it and if you do not make a big deal out of it, if you do not create some great desire by withholding it from your children, when they are 21 and go off to the bar, they are not going to go crazy because you did not make nothing out of it. If you teach them at home to drink a beer or drink a glass of wine and do it responsibly, because you are a responsible adult, if you teach them and you model the behavior for them and you turn them into a responsible adult, I see nothing wrong whatsoever with giving your teenagers, your underage minor children, a beer or a glass of wine in your own home on St. Patrick’s Day.

Terry Slainte have a great St. Patrick’s Day. Folks out there, let me know what you think about this video. If You have topics about the law or the legal system that you would like me to do a video on, send me an email below.

Is It Illegal To Give My Underage Kids Alcohol On St. Patrick’s Day?

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Title 21 Delaware Code, Section 4169

(a) Where no special hazard exists, the following speeds shall be lawful, but any speed in excess of such limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful [for] all types of vehicles:

(1) 25 miles per hour in any business district;

(2) 25 miles per hour in any residential district;

(3) 20 miles per hour at all school zones where 20 mph regulatory signs are posted and state the time periods or conditions during which the speed limit is in effect; such conditions may include when children are present or while 1 or more warning lights flash;

(4) 50 miles per hour on 2-lane roadways;

(5) 55 miles per hour on 4-lane roadways and on divided roadways.

(b) Whenever the Department of Transportation shall determine, on the basis of engineering studies and traffic investigations or upon the basis of a federal law or directive by the Congress or the President, that a maximum speed limit set pursuant to subsection (a) of this section in any particular place on the state maintained highway system is greater or less than is reasonable or safe, the Department shall declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereat, which limit shall be effective when posted. Such maximum limit may be declared to be effective either part or all of the time and differing limits may be established for different times of the day, for different types of vehicles, for different weather conditions and when other significant factors differ. Such maximum limits may be posted on fixed or variable signs. Any speed in excess of such displayed limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful.

(c) Penalties for violation of this section are as follows:

(1) Whoever violates this section shall for the first offense be fined $20. For each subsequent offense, the person shall be fined $25. A subsequent violation, before being punishable as such, shall have been committed within 24 months after the commission of the prior offense.

(2) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 5 miles per hour but less than 16 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $1.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $2.00 per mile, if such violation is a subsequent offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(3) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour but less than 20 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $2.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $3.00 per mile, if such violation is a subsequent offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(4) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 19 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $3.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $4.00 per mile, if such violation is a second offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(d) The Department of Transportation shall designate a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour for all portions of Delaware State Route 1 located between the Red Lion Creek and the Appoquinimink River, except for the delineated nonhighway speed toll plaza area. Such maximum limits may be posted on fixed or variable signs. Any speed in excess of such displayed limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful.

State of Delaware Link: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title21/c041/sc08/

Title 21 Delaware Code, Section 4169 – This provision is current as of August 08, 2016.

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