A social host is someone who knowingly allows an underage person to consume alcohol illegally on the host’s property.
What is Social Host Liability?
Social Host Liability is the legal term for the criminal responsibility of a person who allows such illegal activity.
What would this ordinance/law aim to do?
· This ordinance is part of the effort to stop underage drinking.
· The Social Host Ordinance is aimed at those who allow persons under legal age to consume alcoholic beverages in or on property they own or control.
· This ordinance would address enforcement and prosecution problems where persons knowingly permit or allow underage drinkers to have a party on their property, even when the owner didn’t supply the alcohol, and persons, including parents, who knowingly permit or allow their children’s friends to consume alcohol at their home, even where the parents didn’t supply the alcohol. Currently, only the person who actually physically sells or gives the alcohol to the person under legal age can be prosecuted.
· The ordinance will authorize a civil fine of adults who know that underage drinking is occurring on their property and either allows it to go on or does nothing to stop it. Underage drinkers may obtain the alcohol from one person and then go somewhere else to drink it. Common examples are parties that take place in rural areas or the basement of a home of one of the underage drinkers. Parents have told police that they knew about the party and it was okay with the parents because the kids weren’t driving and they knew where they were. Currently, there is no charge that applies to these situations.
· The charge and penalty will be punishable by a fine.
· The ordinance only applies to those who know that underage drinking is going on and do not stop it, or who gave permission for it to occur in the first place. It would not apply to persons who did not know that underage drinking was occurring on their property. For example, if the parents were away, and their child had a party at their home and the parents were unaware of it, those parents would not be charged.
· The ordinance/law would not give law enforcement permission to enter private property without cause.
Read more about Social Host in next week’s paper. For more information please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.