While many young people celebrate safely and within the law, more
than a few families will host “open house parties” -
parties at which juveniles are provided alcohol. This is illegal
and parents need to know the law. In Florida, any person who willfully
and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person
who is not of legal drinking age (21) will be responsible for injuries
or damages caused by the intoxication of the minor.
group called Students Promoting Stronger Minds, a division of the
Clay Action Coalition, developed a "Safe House" contract
for parents and/or homeowners.
here to view and print the contract.
Far too many communities in years past have woken up to post-graduation-night
headlines revealing the death of a teen that partied, drove, and
died. Questions are then raised about the accountability of the
adult(s) that provided the alcohol. Florida has a so called “open
house party” statute. This law makes it a criminal offense
for an adult having control of a residence to permit an open house
party to take place in the home if the adult knows that any alcohol
or drugs are being consumed by minors. Our legislature intended
to impose a duty of care on social hosts by enacting this law. In
laymen terms, you are responsible for protecting minors that are
too immature to appreciate the consequences of their drinking or
In 2002, the Florida legislature amended this “open house
party” law, expanding the potential of criminal and civil
responsibility to include individuals 18, 19, 20, and 21 years of
age. Previously, the law limited responsibility to hosts 21 and
older. While some parents would argue that it is safer for their
own teenagers and their friends to drink at home in a supervised
atmosphere, anyone over 18 who engages in this practice may now
assume a significant risk in the civil and criminal courts. The
Clay County Sheriff’s Office cares about the health and welfare
of Clay County’s teenagers and encourages them to stay alcohol-free.