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Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking

by Apr 8, 2019Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI / DUI, Minnesota Attorney, Sam Edmunds

By Dea Cortney

We are right around the corner from the time of year when summer parties and gatherings will be in full swing. You would be hard pressed to find a party these days that does not serve alcohol. Of course there is nothing wrong with having a beer or two. The trouble is when someone ends up having a few too many and things get out of hand. As a social host, you potentially face criminal and civil liability for damage caused by an intoxicated guest.

Who is responsible for damage caused by an intoxicated person?

As a general rule, an intoxicated person who is 21 and over is responsible for damage caused by their own actions. On the other hand, responsibility for merely providing alcohol to or damage caused by an underage drinker can be placed on the host.

Some cities have ordinances that make it a crime to provide alcohol to an underage drinker. For example, the City of Minneapolis has a social host ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor to host an event where people under 21 possess or consume alcohol regardless of who supplied it.

In Minnesota, the Social Host Liability Act can hold a person responsible for damages caused to or by an underage drinker. This law imposes civil liability for damages that result when someone over the age of 21 had control over the premises, was in a position to prevent alcohol consumption, and knowingly or recklessly permitted that consumption by someone under 21.

If you are charged with violating a social host ordinance or are injured by an intoxicated underage drinker, then you should contact one of the drunk driving lawyer Mendota Heights at Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC to discuss your options. Contact Kevin Sieben, Samuel Edmunds, or Michael Miller at 651-994-6744 for more information.

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