Maryland Parents Now Accountable for Kids Served With Alcohol Under Their Watch

The parents serving alcohol to kids or young people who are underage and could not drink yet could be held liable for harm or death that comes to them as per the new opinion issued by Maryland's highest court.

The opinion was issued on Tuesday and it comes after the state's General Assembly that has been coping with the toughening of criminal penalties regarding adults hosting underage drinking parties. The latest ruling or Maryland Court of Appeals argues that adults should be held responsible for the actions of the underage drinkers as those under 21 are not yet able to handle the possible dangerous effects of drinking liquor.

The court added that children under the age of 21 are "less able to make responsible decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol so they are more susceptible to harm as well as other people they are with at a "social, peer-pressured setting." The adults to be held liable should knowingly and willfully serve alcohol to someone under the age of 21, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The latest court ruling is based on two cases. The first case is Manal Kiriakos v. Brandon Phillips. Kiriakos was said to be walking her dog when an 18-year-old driving an SUV struck her back in 2011. The teen was drinking at Phillips' home before the incident.

The second case cited is that of Nancy Dankos, et al. v. Linda Stapf. Dankos claimed that her 17-year-old son got drunk in the garage of Stapf back in 2009. Dankos' son then got behind the wheel with current and former football players from River Hill High School and the vehicle crashed resulting to Dankos' son getting killed.

Due to the ruling of the highest court in Maryland, the cases will be returned to circuit courts in Howard and Baltimore for new proceedings.

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