What you need to know before you host a party for anyone under the age of 21.
It’s the law for a reason.
The earlier drinking starts, the more danger it poses. People reporting first time use of alcohol before age 15 were five times more likely to have alcohol dependence or abuse compared with people who first used alcohol at the age of 21 or older.
Research shows that a teen who gets through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs is almost certain never to do so.
Consequences of teenage drinking
- Alcohol poisonings
- Brain damage
- Chronic alcohol addiction
- Traffic crashes
- Property damage
- Community disturbance
- Risky sexual behavior and sexual assault
- Suspension from school sports or other activities
In other words, if it’s your property, it’s your problem.
Definition of a Social Host Ordinance
A social host ordinance holds adults responsible for hosting, or in other words, knowingly providing a place for underage drinking to occur.
Social host ordinances give communities a practical tool for holding adults accountable. It’s often difficult for law enforcement to determine who provided the alcohol at teen parties. With social host liability, the focus is on where the drinking takes place, rather than who provided the alcohol.
Why does this ordinance target parties that occur on private residences and premises?
Parties and gatherings on private property have repeatedly been identified as the primary source by which youth obtain alcohol. Kids obtain alcohol at parties through friends, older siblings or adults.
We’ve heard the excuses: “If they are going to drink, they might as well drink at home, where I know they are safe” Not necessarily. The data shows there is an increase in youth violence, sexual assaults, teen pregnancy, and in some cases alcohol poisoning, and death when underage youth are allowed to drink at someone’s home.
“What exactly do you mean by responsible?”
Holding Hosts Responsible
Through social host liability laws, people can be held responsible for underage drinking parties, regardless of who furnished the alcohol.
Social Host Ordinance
Section 1. The Renville County Board of Commissioners desires to protect the health, safety and welfare of all persons living in and visiting the County. The use of alcohol by persons under the age of twenty-one (21) is prohibited by State statute. This ordinance prohibits, and establishes penalties for any person hosting an event or gathering where alcohol is present and being possessed or consumed by persons under twenty-one (21) years of age. This ordinance is enacted pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 145A.05, subdivision 1. Section. 4. Prohibited Acts.
(a) It is unlawful for any person(s) to:
(1) host or allow an event or gathering:
(2) at any residence, premises, or on any other private or public property;
(3) where alcohol or alcoholic beverages are present;
(4) when the person knows or reasonably should know that an underage person will or does
(a) Consume any alcohol or alcoholic beverage; or
(b) Possess any alcohol or alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it; and
(5) the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent possession or consumption by the underage person(s).
Section. 6. Enforcement. This ordinance can be enforced by any police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or certified peace officer in the county.
Section 8. Penalty. Violation of Section 4 of this ordinance is a misdemeanor. Punishable by a maximum of 90 days jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
People Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking. It’s against the law.