What to know about the ‘social host ordinance' if you're hosting a party this holiday season

If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, there are some things you should know to keep yourself legally protected.

San Diego County has taken measures that are aimed at preventing underage drinking. One of those measures is the implementation of social host ordinances.

A social host ordinance is a law that makes it illegal to provide an environment where underage drinking takes place, regardless of who provides the alcohol.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, one out of three teens said it was easy to get alcohol from their own parents consenting and two out of five teenagers said it was easy to get alcohol from a friend’s parents.

For those hosting parties this holiday season where guests under 21 may be present, the department gives a number of tips to help prevent underage drinking:

  • Control Access – keep alcohol away from minors at your party
  • Control Quantity – Don’t buy so much you lose track of who has what
  • Verify Age – You have a responsibility to know how old everyone is at your party
  • Supervise –You MUST supervise the activities of minors in attendance and ensure they’re NOT drinking.

According to the department, social host violations carry a fine of $1,000 on the first offense. Second time offenders carry a fine of $2,000, up to 32 hours of community service or up to six months in jail.

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