What is Social Host Liability?

A Social Host is liable when he/she knowingly allows underage drinking to occur on property that he/she owns, leases or controls.


Did you know?

The average age youth start drinking is between 12 and 13.

Youth report that alcohol is easy to get and that the primary source is a friend or family member.

The main places youth say they drink are in their own homes or the homes of friends.

Social Host Ordinance

Anyone hosting a party with alcohol should:

Verify the age of those attending.

Prohibit and prevent access to alcohol by any minor.

Supervise minors and activities at the event.


What parents need to know

Parents may be charged a fine or required to perform community service for allowing underage drinking.

Research shows that a social host ordinance is an effective way to reduce binge drinking and DUI.

 Parents can take action against other parents who furnish alcohol to their underage child.

Protect your child from drugs & alcohol

Do you know the laws if your teen is caught?

Dawson County has passed a social host ordinance that holds adults liable for knowingly allowing underage drinking on their property. Penalties can be up to $1,000 along with community service.


Under some circumstances parents may be required to pay  restitution of up to $2,500 for intentional damage caused by their children, as well as possible civil court damages.


If your teen injures someone while driving a family-owned vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs, you could be liable in civil court for damages. 

(O.C.G.A. 3-3-23) Any person under the age of 21 who has alcohol in his or her possession or has consumed alcohol may be guilty of a delinquent offense or a misdemeanor.

(O.C.G.A. 3-3-23.1) It is also illegal to attempt to purchase alcohol, including with a fake ID. If you attempt to purchase alcohol with a fake ID, your license may be suspended for at least six months the first time and one year the second time.

(O.C.G.A. 16-12-171) Georgia Tobacco Statutes: Possession or purchase of cigarettes or any tobacco related object by a person under the age of 18 is illegal. It is also illegal to misrepresent your age or falsify any identification for the purpose of purchasing tobacco. It is illegal for any person to provide, advise, counsel or compel any minor to use any type of tobacco.

(O.C.G.A. 16-13-2) Possession of Marijuana: It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess marijuana. Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor. If convicted, your license will be suspended for a minimum of six months for the first offense, three years for the second offense, and five years for the third offense, even if you were not driving at the time you were caught with marijuana.

(O.C.G.A. 16-13-30) Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

(O.C.G.A. 16-13-30-91) It is a misdemeanor to intentionally inhale the fumes from any model glue, cement, solvent or chemical substance for the purpose of causing intoxication, stupefaction, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration or dulling of the senses of the nervous system.

(O.C.G.A. 16-13-93 and O.C.G.A. 16-13-96) It is illegal for any person under the age of 18 to possess any of the above substances unless it is for model building or other legal reason.


If my teen injures someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, can I be held liable?

If you allow your teen to drive a family-owned vehicle and he/she injures someone as a result of consuming alcohol, you could be liable in civil court for damages.

Does drunk driving include lawn mowers, boats, four-wheelers, etc?

Yes, a person can be charged with DUI if drinking while in control of any moving vehicle.

Isn't it safer for teens to drink in my home?

Though it may seem safer for a parent to monitor, the teen brain is not fully developed until age 25, so allowing any drinking could cause severe damage. A teen’s poor judgement could also lead to other risk-taking behaviors.


Can a person under 18 go to prison for injuring someone while driving under the influence?

Yes, if that person is 17 years old, and while driving under the influence, causes serious bodily harm to another person. The sentence could be up to 30 years in prison. If 16 or younger, he/she may have to serve time in detention or be sent to live in a place away from home for up to two years.

Can I get in trouble for being at a party - even if I'm not drinking?

Yes, you can be arrested even though you are not drinking and charged with possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21.

When is a teenager considered an adult?

A teen is considered an adult at 17, but cannot legally drink or purchase alcohol until the age of 21.