|
|
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • You asked about social host ordinance

  • The earlier drinking starts, the more danger it poses. People reporting first time use of alcohol before age 15 were more than five times more likely to have alcohol dependency or abuse compared with people who first used alcohol at the age of 21 or older. In other words, if it's your property, it's your problem.
    • email print
  • The earlier drinking starts, the more danger it poses. People reporting first time use of alcohol before age 15 were more than five times more likely to have alcohol dependency or abuse compared with people who first used alcohol at the age of 21 or older. In other words, if it's your property, it's your problem.
    What is a social host ordinance and what are the consequences if it is violated?
    Sleepy Eye, Springfield and New Ulm all hold social host ordinances. This ordinance gives communities a practical tool for holding adults accountable.
    When law enforcement officials arrive on the scene of an underage drinking party, it's often difficult to determine who provided the alcohol. Therefore, laws that prohibit furnishing alcohol to youth under 21 can be hard to enforce. With social host liability, the focus is on where the drinking takes place, rather than who provided the alcohol.
    Where a personal sense of responsibility fails, legal accountability can step in. Through social host liability laws, adults can be held responsible for underage drinking parties, regardless of who furnished the alcohol.
    Section 8.84 Subdivision 1 says the social host ordinance was enacted to protect public health and safety and discourage underage possession and consumption of alcohol by holding the person criminally responsible who hosts events or gatherings at which underage persons possess or consume alcohol, regardless of whether the host supplied the alcohol.
    Subdivision 3 says it is unlawful for any person to host an event or gathering, at any location, which alcohol beverages are present; and the person knows or reasonably should know, that any underage person will or does consume any alcoholic beverage or possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it; and the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent possession or consumption of the underage person.
    Violation of Subdivision 3 of this section is a misdemeanor and can be enforced through criminal prosecution and punishable by fines, imprisonment or both.
    Social host liability can also be defined in terms of civil liability. Injured parties can seek monetary damages from the host which is settled through litigation brought against the host by the injured parties.
    Well-meaning parents often host drinking parties on behalf of their children, either in the belief they can control the amount of alcohol a teen consumes or because they consider teen drinking inevitable and that their supervision can ensure the safety of all children involved.
    The truth is, once drinking begins and the party begins to grow in size, it can quickly spiral out of control and lead to devastating consequences.
    The bottom line: hosting at home does not change the facts or lessen the dangers.
      • calendar