Tips for Parents
Social Host Liability
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) describes social host liability laws as "laws that hold individuals responsible for underage drinking events on property they own, lease, or otherwise control." Those responsible can be students, parents, landowners and tenants.
MADD goes on to say that, "Unlike laws that prohibit furnishing alcohol to youth under 21, social host laws focus on preventing underage drinking on private property without regard to who furnishes the alcohol. Their focus is on the venues in which underage drinking takes place rather than on the furnishing of the alcohol."
The Impact of Hosting Underage Drinking Events
Social host liability laws hold adults who serve or provide alcohol to underage people criminally liable if that minor is killed or injured — or if that minor kills or injures someone else. Check out the nuances of your state laws to see how social host liability is interpreted.
Unlawful social hosting is considered a crime in 24 states, as of Jan. 1, 2008, and can result in civil lawsuits against hosts in 33 states. Violations may result in civil or criminal fines, prison terms and monetary damage awards, depending on the jurisdiction.
Keep social host liability issues in mind and educate your student too. Your student needs to be aware of the consequences to hosts, should he drink underage at someone's house. Let your student know what the consequences to him could be, should he decide to host a party. The outcome could be dangerous in a wide variety of ways — and potentially lead to legal troubles — for those involved.
Social Host Laws in Your Neighborhood
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