Social host laws in San Diego County exist for a reason.

As school starts up again, the North Coastal Prevention Coalition wishes to remind parents of their responsibilities when hosting minors at parties.

Social Host Laws

It’s common knowledge that the state law prohibits minors under age 21 from purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol, yet a report from the American Medical Associations finds:

  • 2 out of 3 teens said it was easy to get alcohol
  • 1 in 3 said it was easy to get alcohol from their own parents
  • 2 out of 5 said it was easy to get alcohol from a friend’s parents
  • 1 in 4 said they had attended a party where minors were drinking in front of adults

In San Diego County, a “social host” is anyone who knowingly hosts underage drinking parties on property they own, lease or otherwise control – even a place of business. Social Host Ordinances assign responsibility to those who knew or should have known drinking was occurring on their property.

All 18 cities and the County of San Diego enforces social host laws requiring anyone hosting a party to:

  • Verify the ages of guests
  • Control access of alcohol to those under 21
  • Supervise minors

The penalties for violating these legal requirement and allowing minors to drink alcohol may include:

  • Citing and/or arrest
  • Fined up to $1,000 or more
  • Serving up to 6 months in jail
  • Paying for law enforcement services

The North Coastal Prevention Coalition urges parents to talk to their kids about underage drinking and report underage drinking parties to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.

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Social Host Laws in San Diego County