Furnishing Alcohol is a Bad Idea

Like just about everyone, I too had a productive and active social life when I was younger and could handle it better. But as I grew up I started noticing the hangovers were worse, the messes were less tolerable, and the party lifestyle fit less and less with my life as an adult. These days, if I’m up late on a Saturday night it’s because the kid is sick and I know the weekend is shot.

So why do some people still do the whole loud party thing? Is it a flashback situation, where they’re trying to recapture their youth, even if it was just a few years ago? I don’t think it was really that great back then for these people. Did you like the splitting hangovers and cleaning puke out of your car? Plus the laws are really strict so you have all kinds of potential problems with people driving home drunk or doing stupid things like annoying the neighbors who used to be your friends. Plus there’s that whole thing with somebody posting your party on Facebook and suddenly underage kids are trying to sneak in. Not that it’s happened to me personally, of course, but as a lawyer I’ve helped a bunch of people with this booze problem. In general, we call them furnishers.

There are really only three kinds of furnishers. All three are stupid but in their own special way. Allow me to introduce you to them one at a time.

Accidental Party Furnishers

These are sort of the sad sack kinds of furnishers. Sometimes they threw a family BBQ and one of the kids brought a friend who was underage. But most of the time they were having a way cool party for some people from work and the neighbors called the police with a noise complaint. The first time the cops came they looked around a little from the doorway and  just told the accidental furnisher to quiet down. He promised to do so and the cops left.

About an hour later everyone’s three sheets to the wind. One of the younger people’s girlfriend tweets her friends about the cool party, the friends retweet it or retwit or something and suddenly two carloads of hot girls show up. No self respecting party host is going to turn them away and things go from cool to rockin’. There’s people upstairs making out, fun stuff is happening in the hot tub, and some guy is mixing margaritas in the mouths of three young girls on the porch. Until, that is, the cops show up again.

This time they take one look around, see the underage young women, and shut everything down like a bad buzz kill. They do some field sobriety tests on the girls outside to find out who gets cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol (by holding it in their liver). They cite the owner of the place for three counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and one count of disturbing the peace for ignoring their warning to tone it down. They bring three squad cars and zip tie everyone on the front lawn so that they can make it clear to the entire neighborhood that these parties are not OK.

Accidental furnishers always swear they didn’t know the kids were there, or how they got in. They want to go to trial and testify that they checked everyone’s ID and collected car keys. I just laugh and shake my head. I can make a lot of money in trial fees but they’re just going to make it worse. They were too stupid to turn away some hot looking babes and now are trying to lie up a storm to get out of it. I generally cut them a plea deal for one count of furnishing and a really heartfelt apology to their neighbors.

Party Hound

These are the truly stupid furnishers. Every one I have ever met was male. These dummies throw a party and know that underage people are there. Maybe they are trying to make friends with the guys at work. Maybe they are trying to pick up on some hottie they met at Taco Bell and she invites her underage friends. That hottie is probably only 17 anyway, and some day soon the party hound is going to get hammered with some kind of statutory sex crime for the underage girlfriend. I told you these guys were the truly stupid ones.

Sometimes I think that these party hounds are trying to be social and they just haven’t grown up. They know a party will bring fun people over. They are doing drunken networking the only way they know how because they are so immature. I’m not trying to make you feel pity for them but it’s clear to me that law enforcement crackdowns are the only thing that is going to make them grow up. And crackdowns are exactly what happen. Several times I’ve noticed mysterious injuries on these guys after their arrest.

The thing with party hounds is that they don’t just get popped once. It’s three or four times. Actually the first time doesn’t even count because they just get a stern warning and a talking to by the shift Sergeant. “You have to be the man and control this stuff, son.” You know, the fatherly advice these party hounds so clearly lack in their personal lives.

The second time it’s one count of furnishing for the really drunk 18 year old kid puking his guts out in the bushes and maybe one disorderly conduct charge. Then the third time the cops rush the party en mass and cuff and stuff everyone. Usually the party hound tries to block the front door and ends up with a concussion. The underage kids get a ride to the police station and a really angry meeting with their parents. The party hound gets eight counts of furnishing, one count of resisting arrest, at least one charge of disorderly conduct, etc. It’s usually a long list of every crime that the cops can make fit the situation. They are clearly upset with this guy and they want him to get the message that The Party Is Over. Judges usually impose all kinds of community service and the requirement that the party hound turns in weekly hour sheets. That way, the Judge can put out a warrant and give him maybe three, six, or even ten days in jail each time he screws up. He can’t party if he’s in the slammer.

Screwed Up Furnishers

Most of the time these are just regular adults who are going through a mid life crisis. Sometimes they are screwed up by a divorce or they have some health scare but it’s no excuse. They know better.

I haven’t been able to tell if screwed up furnishers are more likely to be male or female. But I do know that they have some kind of awakening. Suddenly she decides she is in love with her 20 year old intern/pool boy/friend of their kids. But then of course the young guy’s girlfriend finds out about the bottle of wine after work and suddenly she is in my office looking all embarrassed. Or he just got divorced and agrees to buy some vodka for the friendly girls two doors down in his new apartment building. Busted again. Ah well, c’est la vie. We have all done stupid things for inappropriate love, no?

-Samuel Owen

© Samuel Owen 2012. All rights reserved. Please read important notices and disclaimers by clicking here.

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