The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported 94 deaths of individuals under age 21 related to alcohol in 2020 in Alabama. Underage drinking is a concern within the state.
It is important for everyone to safeguard youth against the dangers of this substance. This is especially important for those holding a party for minors that includes alcoholic beverages. Party hosts must understand Alabama’s social host law.
The basics of the law
Alabama holds individuals accountable for knowingly providing a venue for underage drinking. The law recognizes that serving alcohol to individuals below the legal drinking age can have severe consequences, both for the host and the community at large.
Under this law, hosts could be liable if they knowingly permit underage individuals to consume alcohol on their premises. This extends not only to providing alcohol directly but also to creating an environment that tolerates or overlooks underage drinking. However, the law also requires the adult to be present during the activities and fail to take preventative action to be liable.
Ignorance is not a valid defense under this law. It holds individuals responsible for their actions and expects hosts to exercise diligence in monitoring and controlling the consumption of alcohol at their events. This may include taking steps to verify the age of attendees, limiting access to alcohol and actively discouraging underage drinking.
Consequences for violating the social host law can include criminal charges. Individuals may have to pay fines and face imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.
The goal of Alabama’s Social Host Law is to discourage the facilitation of underage drinking by targeting those who provide the environment for such activities. The law underscores the importance of fostering a culture of responsibility among hosts, encouraging them to prioritize the safety and well-being of their guests, especially when those guests are underage.