Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
The answer to this uses two of my favorite legal words, curtilage and messuage. The messuage is the name for the house, outbuildings, back yard and enclosed or fenced front yard. The cutilage is the term for that enclosed yard area. Police cannot enter the messuage unless they have a warrant, or you allow them in, or if they are responding to a visible or known emergency. They might also be able to enter if there is a crime visible from the public way. Therefore, keep the party inside the house and inside a yard with a big fence around the yard. Do not allow anyone of any age to be outside these bounds doing anything, but particularly not drinking or holding an open container of alcohol. Underage people should not be served alcohol and not allowed to bring their own. Underage people subject to a state or local curfew should be made to leave at least a half hour before legal curfew so they get home in time. Have people in charge of manning the doors and gates at all times. If the police arrive, those people should not allow them in, even if they ask or seem friendly. Those manning the entries should also scan for trouble and not let it anyone that looks problematic. If underage people are served or allowed to drink alcohol, there will be legal trouble. What it is depends on exactly what town, county, and state you are located. It also depends what happened. If someone gets killed because of an underage drinker who was served at the party, there will be great trouble. Other than that, there might be citations for the underage drinkers as well as the host and possibly the homeowner.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Probable cause means that the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or has been committed. That reasonable suspicion can be based upon complaints from neighbors or others who would have a good reason to know about what was going on at the house or on things the officer can personally observe when at the location. Providing alcohol to minors is a crime that would allow an officer to enter a private residence. The court-imposed consequences to the owner of the property, the person(s) in residence, and the person who provided or made the alcohol available can range from a fine to jail time. Social consequences can include loss of employment, social shunning, loss of opportunities at school/work/clubs/events, increase in insurance rates, and other limitations.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Law Office of Andrellos Mitchell | Andrellos Mitchell
It doesn't matter if the property is public or private when it come to a police officer entering property. What matters is that a legal threshold has been met. If the police have a warrant, probable cause, or exigent circumstances they can enter your property. Police don't just look the other way because a situation arises on private property and teenagers are involved.
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia