The Host and the Underage Guests: Pennsylvania Social Host Liability
High school proms and graduations are some of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life. However, with prom celebrations often come peer pressure for teens to let loose and partake in the consumption of alcohol and god knows what else?
If you intend to host a high school prom or graduation party this spring, it’s important that you understand Pennsylvania’s social host liability laws. Each year, as a Philadelphia car accident attorney, I receive a number of phone calls from distraught parents whose underage son or daughter was seriously injured, and in the worst cases, killed, as a result of a social host providing alcohol to underage guests.
A “host” or “social host” refers to a person or persons, including businesses and organizations, who hosts a social gathering. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a host to serve or provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, even if the hosts are parents serving alcohol to their own children.
Section 6310.1 of the Pennsylvania criminal code states: A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly sells or intentionally and knowingly furnishes any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to a person who is less than 21 years of age. (To furnish means to supply, give or provide to, or allow a minor to possess on a premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.) Pennsylvania law additionally states that a social host who knowingly serves alcohol to a minor can be held liable for injuries to a third party proximately resulting from the minor guest's intoxication.
What this means is that if a parent or host serves alcohol to a minor, and the minor subsequently injures himself or someone else, the parent or host may be held responsible for the injuries.
Underage drinking results in devastating and life-changing consequences to teens, their families, and those seriously injured in an accident involving intoxicated minors.
Since 1979, the alcohol related injury and Philadelphia car accident lawyers of Reiff and Bily have successfully represented the victims of drunk driving car accidents and those who have suffered serious injury or death as a result of an intoxicated individual. The experienced Philadelphia car accident law firm of Reiff & Bily have the knowledge and personal experience necessary to investigate PA drunk driving accidents and hold owners, social hosts, and individuals responsible for the injuries or deaths caused by drunk drivers. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured as a result of a drunk driving accident, please feel free to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation at (800) 421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.