Although social host liability laws can apply to both minors and non-minors, the main purpose behind these laws was targeting the epidemic of underage drinking and driving. These laws make it possible to sue the adult or adults who provided alcohol to a drunk driver who later on caused a serious car accident which resulted in the serious injury or death of another person.
These laws vary greatly from state to state, but most states define a social host as someone:
Who supplies alcohol as an act of hospitality without seeking monetary gain–this is what differentiates these laws from dram shop laws which were created so that victims of car accidents could hold drinking establishments and servers liable for injury or death. Most people charged in social host liability cases are holding a party on their premises and giving out free alcohol.
Who has no special relationship, such as an employer, with the guest who is given alcohol
Who serves alcohol or condones the serving of alcohol on property he or she owns–this means that a property owner can be found liable under these laws for simply allowing for the consumption of alcohol on his or her property.
Some important facts regarding young adult alcohol consumption include:
Most minors obtain alcohol from their own homes or from adults who furnish it.
These laws make it much easier to prosecute adults who serve alcohol to minors
A survey of 50 states has shown that these laws have lead to a reduction in drinking and driving.
Social host liability laws should make adults think twice before they serve alcohol to minors or to non-minors who are very visibly drunk.