a 25 yr. old man had a party at his home and alcohol was consumed by a 15 old. A 15 year old left the party while drunk and died. Is he responsible?

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a 25 yr. old man had a party at his home and alcohol was consumed by a 15 old. A 15 year old left the party while drunk and died. Is he responsible?

To what extent should adults be held responsible for the actions of minors when illegal use of intoxicants are involved?

Asked on May 10, 2009 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not the death of the girl was a proximate cause of the alcohol being served to her.  There are also criminal issues involved here as the adult could be prosecuted for his conduct (negligent homicide) and do jail time.  On the civil side, the adult will hopefully have insurance to cover the wrongful death of the girl. 

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Under Colorado law, it is a criminal offense to serve alcohol to a minor, including on a private premises.  The only exception would be if a parent served a child in their home.  Additionally, if the death was caused or was otherwise the result of intoxication, then liability would also attach.  A wrongful death claim could then be asserted; possibly even something like criminally negligent homicide depending on the facts.

Since you didn't provide more details I can only respond in general terms.  Hope this helps.


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