Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

Bravo Robert Wagner of Blakeley Township, MN

Robert Wagner, a Blakeley Town Board Supervisor in Blakeley Township, Minnesota (and not the Hollywood star), gets to the heart of the problem with the local Social Host Law in Scott County. It’s too darn vague.

Wagner points out the legal impact when the phrase “after observing or being alerted to illegal activity” is omitted in the county’s version, in his March 24th Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper, the Jordan Independent:

In law, language is everything, and there is a huge difference between townships and cities on this subject. Under the township law, a rural homeowner could face penalty and lawsuit if an underage person entered their garage and stole beer from the refrigerator because they failed to take “reasonable” measures to prevent this, such as locking the refrigerator or garage. Under city law, the homeowner would only be responsible for violating this law if he failed to take action after observing the break-in or being told of the break-in.”

Bravo, Mr. Wagner, for your efforts in this area since 2009. NOTE: Blakeley was joined by five other townships in the county in opposing the language of the county’s ordinance when it was passed in June 2009.

To learn more:

LETTER: Fix social-host law, March 24, 2012, Jordan Independent

County Board approves social-host ordinance 3-2, June 2, 2009, Shakopee News

3 comments on “Bravo Robert Wagner of Blakeley Township, MN

  1. Pete
    March 26, 2012

    I would like you to carefully read MN state Statutes regarding social host ordinances. Please then respond as to how a person who commits a crime (breaking into a residence) as Mr. Wagner asserts, could possibly be held liable criminally. http://www.mnbar.org/benchandbar/2007/dec07/social_host.htm

    Please enlighten me

    • SocialHostLaw.com
      March 26, 2012

      Hi Pete,
      First, thank you for the link to the legal history of civil and criminal social host liability in Minnesota. It’s a very interesting article.

      As for your question, I understand Mr. Wagner’s statement to mean that the person being held criminally liable in his example is the home owner or renter, not the minor who removes beer from the garage fridge. Of course, the home owner can file a complaint against the thief, too.

      Does that help?

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