As reported by Amanda Milkovits in the July 17, 2012 edition of the Providence Journal, the Department of Attorney General has asked the Rhode Island State Police to continue its investigation of an alleged underage drinking party at the Chafee residence. The Governor's son alleged held the party over Memorial Day weekend. Currently no charges have been filed in connection with this case.
A possible charge would be furnishing or providing alcohol to minors at the party. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 3-8-11.1, furnishing or procuring alcohol for minors is defined as: (1) "furnish" means to provide with, supply, give or purchase; (2) "procure" means to get possession of, obtain by particular care and effort; and (3) "permit" means to give permission for, or approval of, the possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by any form of conduct, that would cause a reasonable person to believe that permission or approval has been given.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section it is unlawful for any person twenty-one (21) years of age or older:
(1) to purchase from any licensee or any employee of a licensee any alcoholic beverage for the sale, delivery, service of or giving away to, any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday;
(2) to purchase from any licensee or any employee of any licensee any alcoholic beverage with the intent to cause or permit said alcoholic beverage to be sold, or given to any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday;
(3) to knowingly furnish any alcoholic beverage for the sale, delivery, service of or giving to any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday;
(4) to procure alcoholic beverages for the sale, delivery, service of or giving to any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday; or
(5) to otherwise permit the consumption of alcohol by underaged persons in his or her residence or on his or her real property.
The penalties if convicted include a fine of not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and/or imprisoned for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or both.
The penalties are enhanced if a minor, in this case the Governor's son, is charged with providing alcohol to other minors. Any person, between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21) years of age, who violates subsection (b) herein, may, upon conviction, be subject to a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars ($500). In addition, any person convicted may be required to attend an educational program approved by the department of health designed to recognize the dangers of underaged drinking, and may be subject to up to thirty (30) hours of community service.
It is unclear if other partygoers would also be charged. The other teenagers could be charged with underage possession of alcohol pursuant to R.I.G.L. 3-8-10. The penalties if convicted include any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday and has in his or her possession any beverage as defined in this title shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars ($150) to seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) for the first offense. In addition, any person who violates this section shall be required to perform thirty (30) hours of community service and shall be subject to a minimum sixty (60) day suspension of his or her driver's license, and upon a second offense may be ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment by a licensed substance abuse professional.
If you or a family member has been charged with providing alcohol to minors, underage possession of alcohol or other alcohol offenses, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.