LPD enforces underage drinking party law

The Lovell Police Department had a chance to enforce WS 6-4-406 – permitting house parties where minors are present — this week after receiving a report of underage drinking going on at a Lovell residence.

Chief of Police Nick Lewis said this is the first time the LPD has enforced the relatively new statute. He said it could be used to write a citation to anyone in control of a home while minors are at the home drinking alcoholic beverages. The citation carries a fine of up to $750, imprisonment up to six months, or both.

This week, a Lovell woman was cited for permitting a house party where minors are present, and three minors were written MIP citations.

Lewis said the law does not pin the blame on the owner of the property, but instead whoever is in control of the property at the time of the underage drinking. Age doesn’t matter either, Lewis said, and a minor can be cited as long as he or she is in control of the building, such as gaining access with a set of keys or inviting friends over while parents are away.

Lewis said it can be tough to find out about underage drinking parties, but officers can make contact based on a noise complaint, improperly parked vehicles or other offenses that lead to the discovery of underage drinking.

“In the past, underage drinking has been safe at a house,” Lewis said. “But driving home is the dangerous part. I have to stress how lethal it could be. The state created this law to keep people safe.”

By Brad Devereaux