Some states around the country are implementing “social host” laws, meant to curb underage drinking, according to The Wall Street Journal. These laws charge hosts with criminal or civil penalties who allow underage drinking on their property. So far, 28 states have implemented such laws. This number is up from 18 states with such laws in 2005. The article notes that it does not matter whether any one is hurt at the property where the host supplies alcohol to underage drinkers.
Some states, such as California, have passed laws that penalize hosts if someone underage is injured while they are drinking. Other counties and cities have passed similar social hosting laws.
Police across the United States assert that teenagers drink most often at house parties. Many of these house parties are under the supervision of a legal aged adult. Because teenagers at these parties have a tendency to binge drink, the new laws allow police to arrest any legal age “host” who is present while teenagers are drinking in the house, regardless of whether or not the “host” supplied the alcohol.
The new laws are fully supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Opponents to the new law believe it is not right to punish hosts who may or may not have even known teenagers were drinking in the home or property where the host is present. The law states the hosts know underage drinking is occurring under their supervision or that they should have known.