Social Host Liability: How to Avoid Self Jeopardy

Throughout the centuries, socializing has been part of the daily human lifestyle. Moreover, from grand parties to small get-togethers, a few to an incredible amount of drinks are always involved.

However, what are the legal risks involved when you provide alcohol to your guests at a holiday party or similar get-together? Learn more about the dangers of reckless hosting through the article below.

The Social Host Liability Law

For any alcohol-related injuries that occur as a result of providing alcohol to minors, most states have enacted laws holding party hosts liable.

Injuries to the minor as well as any other individuals whose injuries or death resulted from the minor being provided with alcohol are included in the liability.

More general social host liability laws which are not limited to just minors but to anyone who was encouraged or allowed to drink excessively to the point where she or he was killed, injured, or caused another’s injury or death are present in some states.


Social host liability is a legal concept that some states follow wherein in certain situations where a guest becomes intoxicated and ends up causing an injury to a third party, the host of a gathering or a party is allowed to be held liable.

Usually, these laws apply equally to renters of property, homeowners, or anyone else who provides alcohol to a guest who gets drunk and goes on to injure someone.

However, keep in mind that in most states, a host who provides alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age is the only one is imposed responsibility to concerning the social host liability laws.

There are two types of social host liability cases, these are:

The First Party

In the circumstances that the injured plaintiff is the person who was given the alcoholic drinks, this is when a “first party” social host liability case then exists.

Unless the plaintiff is a minor, most states do not allow first-party social host liability cases.

The Third Party

In the circumstances that the injured person is someone other than the drunk person, a “third party” social host liability case then exists

Thus, if a drunk driver hits you, and the driver got drunk at a party, you would potentially have a third party social host liability case against the person who provided the alcohol at the party.

States that have the Social Host Liability Law

While some states have passed statutes that explicitly give immunity to social hosts, laws imposing liability on social hosts for alcohol-related deaths and injuries vary from state to state.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), eighteen states have general social host liability statutes, and nine states have social host laws specific to minors.

The states that implement the Social Host Liability law are Alaska, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, Utah, Wyoming Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Tips to Avoid Indictment

Remember that a responsible host is an excellent host. If you plan to serve alcohol at a party, it is essential to promote safe alcohol consumption.

You can also take note of the following tips to avoid any mishaps that could land you in a criminal case.
The first tip is to make Make sure that you understand your state laws. Remember that rules vary widely from state to state.

The second tip is to consider venues other than your home for the party. Rather than at your house, hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license will help minimize liquor liability risks.The third tip is to encourage guests to pick a designated driver so that he or she can drive other guests home.

The fourth tip is to limit. Your alcohol intake as a responsible host/hostess, so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.

The fifth tip is to offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food for eating and drinking plenty of water can help counter the effects of alcohol.

The sixth tip is not to pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty.

The seventh tip is to stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening.

Seek Legal Help

The legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest is the Social host liability. Social host liability can have severe consequences for party throwers, so it is recommended to consult an expert for help.

Anyone who was injured by an intoxicated guest can bring a personal injury claim under these kinds of laws as a general rule. Considering that the Social Host Liability law varies by state, the consequences and guidelines might get a bit tricky.

To learn more on the Social Host Liability law, check out mattgould.ca and get legal services or advice from an adept criminal lawyer.


There’s always a risk in whatever we do.  No one would ever suggest you not otherwise organize holiday parties or host friends at your home. And, there is nothing wrong with responsibly serving adult beverages.

However, if we avoid recklessness and become more responsible hosts, we can prevent accidents that would endanger others. Moreover, by being more conscientious, we can also evade jeopardizing ourselves.