NEW YORK– LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire –School’s out and summer is officially here, and for many teens this means a season of extended curfews, graduation parties, barbecues, and possibly, alcohol consumption – all often taking place in the homes of parents or other adults. In fact, about 10.8 million persons ages 12-20 (28.2% of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month.1
New research shows that 78 percent of U.S. adults believe there should be legal consequences for adults who host parties where people under 21 are allowed to consume alcohol, thus making many summertime celebrations high-risk events.
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive® for LexisNexis®. The company’s lawyers.comSM site is the most comprehensive and trustworthy online resource for finding lawyers.
For an adult who allows underage drinking, legal consequences are a harsh reality and there an array of penalties adults who provide alcohol to minors may face.
“All states have laws that can be enforced against adults serving alcohol to minors,” said Alan Kopit, a lawyers.com legal editor. “Those who most often suffer criminal and civil charges include people who provide alcohol to intoxicated minors or to those underage later involved in automotive crashes or other accidents that cause death or injury to third parties.”
The study also revealed that, despite their belief in legal consequences, half (48%) of all adults believe that people under 21 should be allowed to consume alcohol under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Further, one in four (27%) adults believe that, if their parents or guardians are present to monitor them, people under 21 do not face any danger in consuming alcohol. In fact, about one in three adults (34%) believe the legal drinking age should be under 21, or that there should be no drinking age at all.
“Adults are clearly conflicted by this issue, but the only way to avoid risk is not to allow underage drinking at parties,” said Kopit. “For those who plan to allow alcohol consumption by minors, laws vary from state to state and penalties are often based on precedent, so it is best to assess personal risk by speaking with an attorney in advance.”
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lawyers.com between June 14 and June 18, 2007 among 2,370 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
With a pure probability sample of 2,370, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on the sub-samples of parents (n= 1,389), parents of children under the age of 11 (n= 443), parents of children ages 11 to under the age of 21 (n= 569), and parents of children ages 21 and over (n= 689) may be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com. To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at www.harrispollonline.com.
1 2005 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health