Underage Drinking & the Law

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

Social Host Laws by State

IMPORTANT NEWS: The following maps and charts are the most recent versions available from APIS* (Alcohol Policy Information System). Since they only cover laws enacted up to January 1, 2011, some of the state data is out-of-date. APIS lists all of the State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws here, which are very helpful since APIS narrowly defines “Hosting Underage Drinking Parties”. That means your state may have a relevant law they’ve excluded below. For example, here are a few they didn’t include and links to the new laws.

  • Iowa’s new Social Host Law applies to adults who permit anyone under 18 to drink on their property, not under 21.
  • Connecticut’s revised and far stricter Social Host Law went into effect October 1, 2012
  • Illinois’ revised and broadened law went into effect January 1, 2013.
  • Mississippi’s new state-wide Social Host Law went into effect July 1, 2011
  • Oklahoma’s state-wide Social Host Law (Cody’s Law) went into effect November 1, 2011
  • While California doesn’t have a criminal code version of a Social Host Law, in 2010 the Governor signed AB 2486, the Teen Alcohol Safety Act, part 1714 of California’s Civil Code.
  • Delaware added a phrase — criminalizing “allowing” persons under 21 years of age to drink –to their existing Title 4 Alcoholic Liquors code.

 

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*APIS – Alcohol Policy Information System –  is a project of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. They’ve tracked the growth of Social Host Laws on a state by state basis since 1998 and update them annually in the Fall. Although that means their data is usually a year behind, they’re the best resource for extensive information about each state’s alcohol policy.

APIS doesn’t collect data about local Social Host Laws or Ordinances, meaning laws passed by counties and cities. State Social Host Laws take far longer to draft, pass and implement so local laws have been where most of the action happens. Unfortunately, no organization has been able to document the hordes of local host laws that  have been passed in the past few years. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) used to keep a tally but they ran out of funds to do so. Their Social Host Brochure, which instructs how to get a Social Host Law passed in your community, offers this non-working link: Does your area have a social host law?

NOTE: If your state doesn’t have a social host law, your community probably does.


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