Massachusetts “Social Host” law makes adults responsible for the actions of teens under their watch. It is illegal for adults to provide, supply, or furnish alcohol to anyone under age (under 21), and also to knowingly allow underage drinking in one’s home.
The charges can be pretty clear cut if parents or adults actually directly provided alcohol to underage kids. But things get complicated if the police don’t know, and the Commonwealth can’t prove that adults were aware of the party & drinking going on. For example, if the parents were away, or kids were drinking in the basement and the parents didn’t know they had access to alcohol, that could be a legitimate legal defense.
Social host charges or a criminal citation to appear at a clerk magistrate’s hearing, to be are far more likely to be applied if the party was the direct cause of a serious incident. That could be an injury, a DUI, or, these days, a COVID outbreak and school closings, such as recently happened in Lincoln-Sudbury.