NEWBURYPORT — A Pheasant Run Drive mother last week joined an ever-expanding group of parents recently prosecuted by the Essex County district attorney’s office for allowing minors to drink alcohol inside their homes.
Laura Hines, 52, reached a plea agreement with Essex County prosecutors last Friday that allowed her to avoid jail time for a charge of selling/delivering liquor to a person under 21 filed against her after police broke up an under-aged drinking party at her home last June.
By admitting to sufficient facts that she supplied alcohol to minors, the charge against Hines will be continued without finding for 1 1/2 years. Should she stay out of trouble during that time and pay $550 in penalties, the charge against her will be dropped.
“The district’s attorney’s office has spent considerable time and resources educating parents and young people about the Social Host law because we all know that when young people consume alcohol, often times tragedy results. These tragedies are entirely preventable,” Essex Country district attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan said yesterday.
According to the state’s Social Host law, parents found guilty of supplying alcohol to non-related minors can be sentenced to a year in jail, a fine of $2,000 or both. Should death or injuries result from an under-aged drinking party, parents or others hosting the parties could face far higher monetary penalties in the form of civil suits.
Last month, a 42-year-old Peabody mother, Deborah Arnott, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 1 year of probation, related to a 2011 party at her home after which two teen guests were charged with drunken driving. According to prosecutors, Arnott’s son, Brandon, had about 20 underage friends at his home for a drinking party. When his mother Deborah arrived home at approximately 10 p.m., she told the guests to sleep over and then went to bed. At some point in the evening, two guests left her home and were later charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Essex County district attorney’s office.