Here are some things you should know if your teenager is going to attend prom soon:
Teenage Drivers Have Curfews
Any driver under 18 years old has a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. If they drive themselves to the prom (or to any organized school activity), they are permitted to drive during their normal curfew hours so long as they drive directly from the school activity to their homes. For instance, if the prom ends at 11:30 p.m., your teenager is allowed to drive directly home from the prom even though it is after normal curfew time. Any teen that violates their curfew rule faces loss of their driver’s license and court penalties.
Driving to the School’s After Prom Party is Allowed
Your teen can drive themselves from the prom to the official after prom party without violating their curfew. So long as they are participating in an organized school activity, and they take a direct travel path, it is permissible for them to drive during their normal curfew hours. However, the after prom party must be the official activity organized by the school. A teenage party at a friend’s home doesn’t cut it. For example, if your teenager left prom after 11 p.m. and drove to a friend’s house instead of going to the school’s after prom party or directly home, they have violated their curfew rule.
Teenage Passenger Restrictions are Still in Effect
Teenage drivers are not allowed to drive passengers for the first full year that they are licensed drivers. During the first six months, they can’t drive anyone except their parents, licensed driving instructors, and other qualified adult supervisors. During the second six months, they can also drive siblings or grandparents. This means that they are not allowed to drive their teenage friends, or even their prom dates. Sadly, there is no exception to this rule because of the prom!!! If your teen driver has been licensed for less than one year, they cannot drive their date to the prom.
Minors Cannot Possess or Drink Alcohol
No one under 21 years of age can possess or drink alcohol. Nothing changes about this law just because your teenager is attending the prom. Most schools conduct mandatory breath testing at prom and at the after prom party. If your teenager is caught in possession of alcohol or gets caught intoxicated, they will face criminal penalties, loss of their driver’s license, and school sanctions. If they are caught in possession of alcohol or intoxicated while driving, they face increased penalties.
If You Throw a Prom Party, Do Not Serve Minors Alcohol
The old rules no longer apply. You have to be very cautious if you decide to host a prom party. You cannot serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. If you do, you face severe criminal liability, maybe even jail. Also, if anyone is injured because a teenager drank alcohol at your party, you are exposed to civil lawsuits for money damages. Finally, you cannot turn a “blind eye” to drinking by teenagers at your party. If you suspect, or have good reason to suspect, that teens are drinking or in possession of alcohol at your party, you must put a stop to it immediately.
If you have additional questions about keeping your teens safe during prom season, contact our office. We are happy to help!