PATTERSON — Adults who allow underage drinking at parties may face as much as $1,500 in fines if the City Council passes an ordinance it discussed Tuesday night.
Patterson is the latest in a string of Stanislaus County cities to consider measures making it easier for police to punish adults who contribute to teen drinking. Modesto, Newman, Waterford, Oakdale and Ceres have adopted similar ordinances.
The "social host" ordinances gained publicity last year when a Grayson mother admitted giving alcohol to a dozen Patterson teenagers who were injured in a car crash after they left her home. She was convicted of having sex with two of the teens at a previous party and was sentenced to 300 days in jail.
"After the incident in Grayson, there was a groundswell of support for these types of ordinances," said Patterson Police Chief Tyrone Spencer.
He said the measure would allow the Police Department to recoup some of the costs associated with breaking up parties. Adults could face criminal charges as well.
The council didn't take action Tuesday because not all of the members received a staff report, but they are scheduled to return to the issue in two weeks.
Under the proposal, fines would be $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $1,500 for the third.
Parks and Recreation Director Adrienne Chaney encouraged the council to pass the ordinance as soon as possible because of the upcoming prom and high school graduation season.
"We see accidents all the time because minors are partying in orchards or canyons, or wherever they go, and we have to hold the adults responsible," she said.
Bee staff writer Christina Salerno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-4574.