[HISTORY: Adopted by the October Town Meeting of the Town of North Reading 10-2-2017 by Art. 15, approved 1-30-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect the public interest, welfare, health and safety within the Town of North Reading by prohibiting the service to and consumption of alcoholic beverages and drugs by persons under the age of 21 at private premises located within the Town. The North Reading Community Impact Team finds that the occurrence of social gatherings at private premises where alcoholic beverages or drugs are served to or consumed by persons under the age of 21 is harmful to such persons themselves and a threat to public welfare, health and safety. The North Reading Community Impact Team finds further that persons under the age of 21 often obtain alcoholic beverages or drugs at such gatherings and that persons who rent, own, or otherwise control the premises at which such service and/or consumption is occurring will be more likely to ensure that alcoholic beverages and drugs are neither served to nor consumed by persons under the age of 21 at these gatherings when there are potential penalties for violations.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
- ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE
- Any liquor, wine, beer, spirits, cider or other liquid or solid, patented or not, composed of or containing alcohol or spirits, whether or not brewed, fermented or distilled, and capable of being consumed by a person.
- The authority and ability to regulate, direct, or dominate.
- Any substances recognized as drugs in the official United States Pharmacopeia of the United States or official National Formulary or any supplement to any of them; or any substances intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals; or any substances, other than food, intended to affect the structure, or any function, of the body of man and animals. This definition expressly includes marijuana in any form.
- OPEN HOUSE PARTY
- A social gathering at a residence or other private property or premises with minors present.
- A human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, an unincorporated association or a partnership.
- A home, yard, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, or a hall or meeting room, whether occupied as a dwelling, or specifically for a party, or other social function, and whether owned, leased, rented, or used with or without compensation. The term "premises" shall also include private functions held at public facilities within the Town of North Reading.
Any person, regardless of age, who owns, rents or otherwise controls any premises regardless of age shall be responsible when an open house party takes place at said premises where that person knows, or has reason to know, that any alcoholic beverage or drug is being unlawfully possessed, served to or consumed by persons under the age of 21 at these gatherings at said premises.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:
The possession or consumption of a drug by an individual for which that individual has a current, valid prescription or as otherwise permitted by any other applicable law.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages which occurs exclusively by a person under the age of 21 in the immediate presence of and so directed or authorized by his/her parent/grandparent or legal guardian.
The practice of legally recognized religious observances.
Failure to comply with § 147-3 herein shall constitute a violation of this chapter punishable by a fine or warning as outlined below. Fines may be assessed at the discretion of the enforcing officer by criminal complaint or by noncriminal disposition in accordance with § 1-5 of the Town Code.
A first violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of $100, which shall be issued by the North Reading Police Department plus an administrative recoupment of police expenses dealing with this violation in the amount of $100.
A second violation of this chapter at the same premises or by the same person within a twelve-month period shall be punishable by a fine of $200 plus an administrative recoupment of police expenses dealing with this violation in the amount of $100.
A third or subsequent violation of this chapter at the same premises or by the same person within a twelve-month period shall be punishable by a fine of $300.
The enforcement of this chapter shall be delegated to the Chief of Police and/or his designee(s), which for the purposes of this section shall mean any sworn police officer of the North Reading Police Department.
This chapter does not preclude the Police Department from enforcing any provision(s) of applicable criminal law as may be independently applicable.
The fine schedule prescribed as set forth in this chapter is based upon a rolling schedule, meaning that in calculating the fine payable, the Town of North Reading shall count backward starting from the date of the most recent violation of this chapter to determine how many previous violations of said chapter have taken place at the premises or have been committed by the same person during the statutory twelve-month period.
Any person upon whom is imposed a fine/penalty pursuant to this chapter shall have the right to appeal the imposition of such fine/penalty in a noncriminal proceeding by making a written request within 21 days to the Clerk Magistrate in Woburn District Court.
If any part or provision of this chapter shall be deemed to be inconsistent with any federal or state statute, law, rule, or regulation, then such statute, law, rule or regulation shall prevail.
If any part or provision of this chapter or the applicability thereof to any person or circumstance is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the part or provision of or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this chapter or the application thereof to other persons or circumstances.