New Law Punishes Adults Who Host Underage Drinking Parties

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Starting Saturday, several new laws take effect in Maryland. One of those laws will crack down hard on adults who allow young people to drink illegally.

Delegate and former cop David Fraser-Hidalgo pushed for a new law to punish adults who host underage drinking parties.

The move came after two Montgomery County teens, Alex Murk and Calvin Li, died in a crash last year. They had just left a party where minors were drinking. Their friend Samuel Ellis was behind the wheel.

(L-R) Calvin Li, Alex Murk

(L-R) Calvin Li, Alex Murk

At least one adult was at the party and knew there was underage drinking. That person paid a $5,000 fine.

“Mr. Saltzman walked into court, he wrote a check for $5,000 and walked right back out, and that was just tough for many people,” said Del. Fraser-Hidalgo.

RELATED: Family Still In Shock 1-Year After Fatal Drunk Driving Crash

With the new law, in addition to a fine, irresponsible adults could go to jail for up to a year — a change the victims’ parents fought for.

“We don’t have Alex and we know he’s never coming back, and to live with that every day is just incredibly painful,” said David Murk, victim’s father.

Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo hopes the new law will send a strong message to adults who are willing to bend the rules for their kids.

“You are not your child’s best friend, you are your child’s parent. And as a parent, you have to make decisions that are in the best interest of your child,” he said.

The teenage driver, Samuel Ellis, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

The new rule kicks in Oct. 1, and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo wants more amendments in the future to make the law even stricter.

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