Dublin’s Social Host Law
In 2009, Dublin City Council updated our Social Host ordinance to change the required mental state from knowingly to negligent; making it easier to charge and prosecute an individual who provides alcohol to minors.
Dublin Police may charge and the City may prosecute adults or juveniles who “negligently” allow the possession or consumption of alcohol by underage people on their premises. Under the Dublin Code, a person acts “negligently” if because of a “substantial lapse from due care” a person “fails to perceive or avoid a risk that his conduct may cause a certain result or may be of a certain nature.”
- The law still applies to places outside of your home including rented hotel rooms, banquet facilities, etc.
- You could be charged under the ordinance if a minor consumes alcohol in your home whether you are present or not. Exceptions exist under Ohio law for your own children or spouses.
- The law provides an affirmative defense for adults who have taken reasonable steps to prevent underage drinking.
- Suppose an adult is upstairs in the bedroom while underage possession or consumption of alcohol is taking place downstairs. If Dublin Police are called to investigate, that adult can be charged with violating the law even if they claim they did not know criminal activity was taking place if any of the negligent elements can be proven.
What are the punishments for violating this law?
- Any violation would generally be a misdemeanor of the first degree. If found guilty of this offense, he/she can be fined up to $1,000 and, in addition, be sentenced to up to six months in jail.
Has the law been enforced?
- Since 2009, 14 people have been charged in Dublin with violations of the law. This includes five adults (18 and over) and nine juveniles (16 and under).
What should I do if my son/daughter’s underage friends bring alcohol into my home and start drinking?
- Stop the underage drinking. You cannot allow persons under the age of 21 (except for your own children) to consume alcohol in your home.
Contact Dublin Police
We encourage anyone with information about a crime or a party where underage drinking is occurring to call the Dublin Police non-emergency number 614.889.1112.
PERC (Parents Encouraging Responsible Choices) is a committee of Dublin parents and educators whose mission is to empower parents to encourage informed and responsible choices for and by the youth in our community. We provide program facilitation, information dissemination, parent networking and a unified message.
Dublin A.C.T. is a community coalition dedicated to pursuing environmental strategies that will positively change the way people think and behave regarding underage drinking, marijuana, and prescription drug abuse. Coalition members represent twelve community sectors as well as the community at large.