Social Host Liability Laws

What are Social Host Liability Laws?
Social host refers to adults who host parties where alcohol is served to minors on property they control. Through social host liability laws, adults can be held responsible for these parties if underage individuals are served, regardless of who furnishes the alcohol or whether they were aware the party was occurring. These laws are proven to have a positive impact in preventing underage access to alcohol through social means. As of April 2017, Grand Forks is the only community in North Dakota to have a social host liability law.

North Dakota Underage Drinking Laws for Adults
Regardless of a person’s intentions or beliefs about the acceptability of underage alcohol use, it is illegal to provide alcohol to any person under age 21, and doing so could result in criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.
      •It is illegal for adults to provide alcohol to individuals underage or to allow them to consume alcohol in their home or on their property.
      •If an underage individual becomes very ill or dies from alcohol poisoning, the adult can be charged with a crime.
      •If an adult rents a hotel room for a child to hold a party and alcohol is involved, they could be held responsible for anything that happens.

Criminal Penalties
If an adult knowingly provides alcohol to underage individuals, they are committing a crime and can be fined and jailed.

Civil Liability
If an adult hosts a party with underage drinking, regardless of their knowledge of the party, they can be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur as a result—even after the party ends.

For example, you can be sued if an underage drinker gets into a traffic accident after leaving your home, causing injury to another person. And if you knowingly broke the law, your homeowner’s insurance will likely not cover the cost as well.