Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

Pending State Legislation

The following states are considering new Social Host Laws, or revisions to existing SHLs. Note the legislative process is purposely serpentine and most proposed bills do not become laws (see State Legislative Process for details).

State

Bill Number

Summary/Title

Action/Date

DE HB70 This Act increases the minimum fine (from $100 to $250) for purchasing or providing alcohol to or allowing a person under 21 to consume alcohol and makes performance of community service mandatory for such an offense. The Act also establishes a civil cause of action which would allow a person injured by intoxicated minor (defined as person under the age of 21) to sue the adult(s) involved. Until now, Delaware Courts have consistently held that a person injured by an intoxicated minor has no statutory or common law cause of action against social hosts who provided alcohol to the minor. Pursuant to this Act, a person injured by an intoxicated minor would be permitted to bring a civil cause of action against any adult who provided alcohol to the minor or permitted the minor to consume alcohol on their premises. Reported Out of Committee (JUDICIARY) in Senate with 5 On Its Merits 2012-01-25
IA HF396 Under the bill, a person who is the owner or lessee of, or who otherwise has control over, property that is not a licensed premises, shall not permit an under legal age person to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage on such property. Considered a “gross misdemeanor”. To House Judiciary Committee  2012-02-09
 MA  H.1212 Re-filed H.3744 from 2012. Revision of current law. Proposes adding civil action liability for “all monetary damages arising out of personal injuries and deaths (including personal injury or death to the underage person to whom alcohol was illegally delivered or furnished), or property damages” to the current punishments listed of fines and/or jail time for the sale, delivery or furnishing of alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of twenty-one. Prohibits using the minor’s actions as a defense. Adds retroactivity to current cases. Referred to the committee on Judiciary   2013-01-22
 NY  S00628 Proposes a Social Host Law prohibiting the permitting of the consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 years; defines permitting as “failing to take reasonable corrective action” and lists those actions.  There are exemptions for religious reasons and for family members. To Senate Codes Committee    2012-01-19
 SD  SB94 Proposes four new sections to existing law CH 35-9 (Age requirements for consumption of beverages) adding Social Host responsibilities. Who’s liable: Any age person. Includes a knowingly clause and “should have known”. Penalties vary based on age of person consuming alcohol. Defense against penalty includes “took effective and appropriate action” to stop the drinking or to remove the liquor. However, host does not have to be home to be liable. Killed in Senate State Affairs Committee    2012-01-19


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  • Bruce Rice: RI lawyer gets pass on social-host law - The Providence Journal April 16, 2014
    Norwich GazetteBruce Rice: RI lawyer gets pass on social-host lawThe Providence JournalI certainly applaud Mothers Against Drunk Driving for refusing the donation from lawyer Jayne Donegan, who had been charged with violating Rhode Island's social-host law by letting teenagers drink at her daughter's 16th birthday party (“Social-host ...Social host […]
  • North Kingstown mother agrees to contribute $5000 to MADD, social host ... - The Providence Journal April 15, 2014
    North Kingstown mother agrees to contribute $5000 to MADD, social host ...The Providence JournalWARWICK, R.I. – The North Kingstown police agreed to drop allegations that a local mother violated the state's social host law by allowing teenagers to drink alcohol at her daughter's 16th birthday party under a deal reached Tuesday in Kent County ...
  • MADD won't accept $5000 donation from mother charged in social-host case - The Providence Journal April 16, 2014
    MADD won't accept $5000 donation from mother charged in social-host caseThe Providence JournalWARWICK, R.I. — The North Kingstown police reached a deal Tuesday to drop a charge that a local mother violated the state's social-host law by allowing teenagers to drink at her daughter's 16th birthday party in exchange for her contributing $5,000 to […]
  • Steuben County to consider social host ordinance - Hornell Evening Tribune April 18, 2014
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