Graduation Parties and Suffolk's Social Host Law

Party time, underage drinking and Suffolk's Social Host Law ... what you need to know.

By Mark T. Freeley, Esq. (Open Post)May 24, 2011 at 12:45pm

Now that college graduation time is upon us and high school graduation is right around the corner, it is important to be aware of our obligations as the host of a party where alcohol is being served.

Suffolk County's Social Host Law prohibits the consumption of alcohol by minors at private homes. It is unlawful for any person over the age of 18 years to knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol by any minor at their home or fail to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of alcohol by a minor at their house.

Reasonable corrective action includes making a prompt demand that the minor stop consuming alcohol or requesting that they leave your home. If the minor does not comply with your request, the law requires that you promptly report the underage drinking to local law enforcement or any other person having a greater degree of authority over the conduct of the minor, such as a parent or guardian. The only exception to this law is if the minor's parent or guardian is present and has permitted their child to consume alcohol.

A violation of Suffolk's Social Host Law not only invokes criminal penalties but can also subject the homeowner to civil liability if someone is injured due to underage drinking that occurred at their home.

Enjoy graduation time and summertime gatherings, but play it safe and don't let underage drinking create a legal problem for you or a tragedy for someone else.