Recently, a California mother and her 20-year-old daughter were arrested on misdemeanor charges after providing alcohol to a 19-year-old at a birthday party. The intoxicated teen left the party and was involved in a fatal car accident.
“When adults furnish alcohol to minors and an accident causing injury or death results, the adults may face criminal charges from the state and civil actions from the victims and their families,” explained California car accident lawyer James Ballidis.
In California, providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21 can result in criminal charges. This is true whether you are a bar owner selling alcohol, a person asked to buy alcohol for someone under 21, or a parent who gives alcohol to your teenager’s friends. While there are certain limited exceptions, such as allowances for people who provide alcohol to children for religious reasons, the laws in California are clear that if you provide alcohol to a minor, there are consequences.
Recently, a French Valley woman named Maria Ana Anguiano learned of these consequences. Anguiano, 41, and her 20-year-old daughter Desiree were both charged with furnishing alcohol to a person under the age of 21 who then caused a fatality. These charges are misdemeanor charges. Maria and Desiree Anguiano allegedly committed this misdemeanor when they served alcohol to a teen guest at Desiree’s birthday last January.
After consuming alcohol at the party, 19-year-old Ashley Nicole Rodriguez left the Anguiano home with a 19-year-old friend named Aaron Ellison in the vehicle. Rodriguez crashed the vehicle, causing Ellison to be thrown from the car and fatally injured. Rodriguez pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter for her decision to drive drunk and faces as long as 12 years in prison. Maria and Desiree Anguiano now also face potential penalties for their part in the tragedy.
While Maria Anguiano may be focused on dealing with the criminal charges at the moment, the provisions found in section 1714(d) of the California Civil Code-also known as California’s social host law-make clear that she and other parents like her may also be faced with civil lawsuits when they serve alcohol to a minor on their premises. Under California law, this means that Anguiano may be required to pay wrongful death damages to the family of the deceased teen who died as an indirect result of her willfully giving alcohol to someone who was underage.
Additional information on California’s social host law and on the injury and wrongful death claims process is available to the public free of charge through our office’s Preferred Friends and Clients Program.
If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California car accident lawyer, feel free to call 866-981-5596.