New York State Social Host Law

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The main purpose of New York State’s Social Host Law is to deter underage drinking parties or gatherings where any adult (defined as anyone over the age of 18) knowingly allows minors (defined as anyone under the age of 21) to drink alcohol or alcoholic beverages. This law provides the legal basis for holding adults responsible (and liable) for knowingly allowing parties for individuals under the age of 21 to occur at a place under their control, whether or not they provide the alcohol.

Who can be charged?

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and…

  • Owns, rents, or otherwise controls a private residence or a permanent or temporary domicile, including a home, apartment, condominium, cooperative unit, trailer home, recreational vehicle, mobile home, boat, overnight accommodations at a hotel, motel, campsite or short‐term rental property; or other dwelling unit of any kind, including yards and open areas adjacent to these locations and knowingly allows the consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premises
  • Fails to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premises. What is considered “reasonable corrective action?” Reasonable corrective actions shall include, but are not be limited to:
    • Making a prompt demand that the minor(s) stop drinking the alcoholic beverage or leave the premises;
    • If the minor refuses to comply with the request, the adult must promptly report the underage drinking to local law enforcement or any other person with greater degree of authority over the minor (e.g. the minors’ parents or guardians, etc.)

What are the penalties?

  • 1st Offense: Fine not to exceed $500
  • 2nd and subsequent offenses: misdemeanor—fine up to $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year.