Many teenagers test boundaries and explore new experiences. For parents, this can be particularly challenging when they experiment with drinking. While it’s not uncommon for teens to drink with friends, hosting such an occasion could come with legal consequences. You could be at fault if someone was injured or had their property damaged by a teen who drank on your property. A defense lawyer can help you understand the implications in greater detail, but here’s a brief overview.

What Is Social Host Liability?

State law dictates how homeowners can be civilly or criminally responsible for underage drinking that takes place on their property. In Ohio, social host laws hold individuals and businesses accountable for serving underage people alcohol. If the underage drinker were to injure or kill someone, the person who provided the alcohol could be held liable. This only applies to people under the age of 21, however.

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To prove liability, the parents must have knowingly provided the alcohol or have found out about the teens’ consumption and not attempted to take corrective action. For example, if teens snuck alcohol and parents found out after the fact, they would be expected to provide overnight accommodations to prevent the teens from causing harm to themselves or others on their way home. 

Proving whether or not you knew about or consented to alcohol consumption can be difficult. However, a defense lawyer can help make your case with evidence such as witness testimony. 

What Are the Consequences of Hosting?

Simply allowing underage people to drink on your property could lead to criminal prosecution, with consequences of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. You could also be responsible for any property or medical damages. 

While a defense lawyer can help determine whether or not you were at fault, possible consequences could include having to pay for medical bills and missed wages for the injured party. 


If you’ve been accused of hosting a party where underage drinking took place, turn to James F. Bogen, Attorney at Law in Cincinnati, OH. In practice since 2002, this attorney has provided aggressive defense and detail-oriented protection of his clients’ rights. Find out more about his services for misdemeanor and felony offenses online, or schedule a consultation by calling (513) 503-7251.