Social Host liability refers to a party host who serves alcohol to underage persons. They may be held accountable for any injury or action of the intoxicated guest. The legislature has determined that persons under twenty-one aren’t competent to handle the potentially dangerous effects of alcohol. The adult increases the risk of harm to themselves and others by facilitating this illegal conduct.This is very important to be aware of because in each state the law varies. Maryland is one of the eighteen states that has general host liability. That means the law applies to guests of all ages.
In Maryland, furnishing alcohol or allowing possession and consumption of alcohol can lead to a misdemeanor. That crime is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 for the first offense and a fine of $5,000 for the second offense. Parents who hosts guests and allow underage drinking face civil liability for negligence as well. This may occur when a teenager puts their own life or someone else’s life in danger.
Persons who furnish alcohol to underage drinkers face criminal consequences and civil liability if an accident occurs. Unfortunately, one who has been drinking often makes the terrible decision to drive while impaired. In this case, if the person were at a home where adults “willfully” and “knowingly” furnished the alcohol to someone under 21, these adults can be sued civilly and charged criminally. On the criminal side, state lawmakers recently passed a law that allows for jail for adults who allow or supply alcohol to those who are underage. This law does not allow the guest to sue the host for the damages related to injuries sustained in an accident. For example, if an underage drinker attends a party, becomes intoxicated, and that intoxication results in an accident and injury, the underage drinker has no basis for a lawsuit against the host of party for serving him/her alcohol.
If you serve alcohol to those who are underage and someone is injured or killed as a result, there is potential legal and financial liability, as well as criminal negligence. It is significant for people to be aware of the potential consequences that can come from hosting underage drinking. An attorney can help better explain the specific area and provide more information on social host liability. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz at 410-346-3577 to schedule your consultation.