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My daughter was caught with a open beer at 18. Are her parents liable for her action?

Spring, TX |

She is not living with me, her mother, but the court wants me to go to the hearing with her. Can she just pay a fine?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Parents are not any more liable for their 18 year-old offspring than for an 18 year old un-related person, unless they say or do something that creates a "duty" which then creates the potential for liability. You and your child should attend the hearing with SEPARATE attorneys. Good luck!

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@hotmail.com. All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  2. When your daughter turned 18, you no longer have any sort of legal responsibility for her. Moreover, you have no formal power over any medical, financial, social or legal decisions that she makes. In the eyes of the law, she is an adult and has all the freedom and responsibility that adulthood entails. That said, there are some organizations and educational institutions that anticipate parental involvement and assistance even after children have reached the age of 18.

    Good Luck!

    Ms. Riley may be reached at 347-501-8042 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: alexis@nyrileylaw.com. All of Ms. Riley's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Riley is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


  3. You can't be held liable for any fines or costs, but I would assume that the reason for them wanting you to come to court is that she is still in high school. There are sometimes certain programs courts have that are designed to help young offenders in more of an educational, rehabilitative fashion than the usual "you've done the crime, now do the time" approach. I would guess that's why you're being asked to attend. It would probably really not be to your daughter's benefit to "just pay the fine", because that will result in her having a conviction on her record. I inderstand you don't think it's your problem, but she's still your daughter. What would be the harm of going to court with her?


  4. You daughter is an adult and you are not legally responsible for her actions outside of the law.