If you’ve ever served alcoholic beverages at a social gathering, did you worry over your guests and their ability to drive home safely? Here in Florida, people driving under the influence cause over 1000 traffic fatalities every year. The worry is real.
To protect guests who attend private parties, many states put social host liability laws in place.
Don’t let a few too many drinks hamper your peace of mind. Before you plan your next gathering, explore your legal responsibilities regarding serving alcohol to your friends.
What Does Florida Social Host Liability Entail?
Even if you haven’t heard the formal term, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the concept, especially if you enjoy showing off your mixing skills to friends when they visit your home. Social host liability is a legal concept followed by some (but not all) state governments.
Laws associated with this type of liability allow the host of a social gathering to bear at least some responsibility if an intoxicated guest causes injury to someone else.
Another similar law called dram shop law covers businesses. They can be held accountable if a guest becomes intoxicated at their location and then injures another person.
Bars, restaurants, and liquor stores all fall under dram shop law jurisdiction, while social host liability applies only to the individual.
Social Host Liability and You
Remember back in the day that one friend who had the cool parents? You know, the ones who let their kids drink at home and didn’t have a problem with their friends doing it too.
Are you the parent now and wondering whether it’s okay for you to host your kid’s friends? Maybe you don’t even have kids yet, but you do have friends, and they love your unique version of Pirate’s Grog.
Whichever scenario applies to you, it’s wise to have a solid understanding of Florida’s social host liability laws. These laws make you liable whether you serve alcohol to adults or minors!
You can view the 2019 Florida statute here, but in a nutshell, if you serve alcohol and your intoxicated guest injures or causes death to another individual, you could be sued. Since serving alcohol to minors is illegal in Florida, you could also face criminal charges if you choose to be the cool parent.
There is a caveat — serving alcohol to a minor in your home for religious reasons may exempt you, in part, from criminal charges. Check with your attorney to make sure you follow Florida’s guidelines precisely.
How to Protect Yourself When Holding a Party
Earlier, we mentioned that Florida’s social host liability laws protect your intoxicated guests. It’s not only your guests, but the rules also protect the general public, and, of course, you!
To avoid trouble, including a potential wrongful death lawsuit, there are several things you can do, including:
- Never serve alcohol to minors.
- Stop serving alcohol to your adult guests if they’re becoming intoxicated.
- Stay sober so that you’re in a condition to look after your guests.
While it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, you could also consider hosting an alcohol-free party. You might save yourself many headaches and someone’s life.
Need Help Fighting a Social Host Liability Charge?
Whether you’re already facing trouble because of something a guest did after drinking at your home, or you’d like more information about your responsibilities when serving alcohol, an attorney has the answers you need.
Here at Reed & Reed, we have in all aspects of personal injury law, including those laws associated with social host liability. Protect your peace of mind, and possibly your friends. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.