The following is a statement issued from Darien Police Detective James Palmieri, former SRO at Darien High School and  public information officer, reminding parents and homeowners of the risks of hosting an underage drinking party:

At this time of year, the Darien Police Department typically sees an increase in the number of calls for gatherings where minors are possessing and/or consuming alcohol. This increase can be attributed to prom season, the end of the school year, and the return of college students to town. The Darien Police is taking this opportunity to remind parents and homeowners about the criminal and civil consequences of allowing or permitting the possession/consumption of alcohol by minors at their homes.

• Darien parents cited for underage drinking party

Various social-host and underage-possession charges can be brought against any parent or homeowner who either actively participates in allowing minors to possess or procure alcohol or even passively allows the possession or consumption to take place. Most people are well aware that allowing minors to drink alcohol in their home is illegal, but many don’t realize that the law allows for criminal charges to be brought in situations where the police have sufficient legal and reasonable cause to believe that parents/property owners should have known that underage drinking is taking place.

An example of this would be allowing your minor child to have twenty of their friends over and for the group to be unsupervised in the basement of the home. If police were summoned to the home, and determined that alcohol was being consumed in the basement by minors, the parents (or the person presently in charge of the property) could be charged if circumstances warrant a police officer to reasonably conclude that the parent or property owner was aware, or should have been aware, of the ongoing alcohol related activity.

The Darien Police suggest taking active steps to assure that any gatherings at your home, where minors are present, are safe, effectively supervised and alcohol free. Checking on gatherings, knowing who’s in your home, and talking with your kids are examples of good first-steps. Taking these proactive measures ensures the safety of your children and their friends, and protects you from the potential criminal and civil consequences of alcohol being present without your knowledge.