Amherst cracking down on parents who host underage drinking parties

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AMHERST, Ohio -- Starting December 14, a new law will go in effect in the city of Amherst that cracks down on adults who host underage drinking parties.

"Lt. Mark Cawthon with the Amherst Police Department approached us on an ordinance to try and get something done with this teenage drinking in Amherst," said city council president, John Dietrich.

Monday, city council approved what is known as the "Social Hosting Ordinance."

The new law basically allows police to charge parents who claim to "not know" that teenagers are drinking inside their home.

"The officers will see if there is a responsibility there and that they knew what was going on. We're not looking for somebody who's son comes home with his buddies and they dare him to drink or something like that," said Dietrich.

The city says the parent or parents could face three punishments: a first-degree misdemeanor for "knowingly" allowing underage drinking; a second-degree misdemeanor for parents "recklessly" allowing it; and a fourth-degree misdemeanor for those "negligently" allowing it.

In addition to a fine, adults could go to jail up to six months, depending on the severity of the situation.

Dietrich adds that police will undergo training in the next month on how to enforce the law.

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