Should Parents Be Prosecuted If Minors Drink at Their Home?

(Image Credit: Getty Images)

In June 2012, in Falmouth, Maine, Barry and Paula Spencer let their son, Nicky, have a party to celebrate his high-school baseball team winning the state championship.

"Nothing illegal," demanded Paula Spencer. Nicky agreed, adding he would keep the party to 50 attendees.

That phrase would come back to bite Paula Spencer and her husband in a way neither imagined. After the party got out of control, with tens of uninvited kids showing up with alcohol, they were charged with allowing minors to consume alcohol in their home. If convicted, they could go to prison.

It's happening to parents all over the country. One Massachusetts mom landed in prison for six months for hosting underage drinkers. A Virginia mom was locked up for five months.

After a hung jury, the Spencers avoided a retrial by accepting a deal forcing them to pay $17,000 in fines and restitution, write a letter of apology in the local paper and serve 100 hours of community service each.

What do you think? Chime in on the ballot below, and watch the full story on "20/20: Parents Behaving Badly" Friday at 10 ET.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...