A young man was recently convicted by a Weld County jury of Providing Alcohol to a Minor, C.R.S. 12-47-901. He had purchased alcohol for a fraternity initiation party in Greeley, and a freshman at that party leaped from a balcony after consuming several shots and a bottle of wine. In Colorado jurisdictions including Adams, Douglas, and Denver County, Colorado, providing alcohol to a minor is a class 1 misdemeanor offense and it carries up to 18 months in jail and a maximum fine of $5000. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor is a similar charge.
In Weld, Boulder, and Arapahoe County, if a person sells, serves, gives away, disposes of, exchanges, or delivers or permits the sale, serving, giving, or procuring of any alcohol beverage to or for any person under the age of twenty-one years, they can be charged with providing alcohol to a minor. Colorado courts may consider varying mitigating factors, including whether the minor misrepresents their age to the person providing or selling the alcohol.
The interesting thing about this case is that it punishes this young man for something he probably had very little control over. He did not force the other young man to drink, nor did he force him to jump off of the balcony (a circumstance without which Weld County prosecutors would have likely not charged him in the first place). Likewise, while it seems reasonable to write tickets to or take away licenses from bars who sell alcohol to minors, it seems completely irrational to charge bartenders with a crime, especially when many underage patrons have fake IDs.
Along with providing alcohol to a minor, an overzealous prosecutor in Jefferson or Larimer County might add another charge in circumstances like this: Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (C.R.S. 18-6-701), which is a felony.
If you have been charged in any Colorado jurisdiction of Providing Alcohol to a Minor or Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, the experienced attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office can help you. We practice 100% criminal defense, and know how to mitigate the risk of criminal liability you are facing. So, if you own a bar or are the president of a fraternity and the police charge you with an alcohol related crime, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.