Serving alcohol at parties can haunt you for life.
Halloween parties (or New Year’s Eve, Football or any gathering of friends and family) at a friend or family member’s home represent a great opportunity for people to gather in their most creative costumes and eat delicious food while consuming alcoholic beverages and enjoying each other’s company. As the host of a Halloween party, it is common to plan ahead by making shopping lists, decorating your home, and preparing special treats for the event. However, you should also be planning ahead for how to avoid potential criminal liability as a result of your party.
Alcohol at Parties May Lead to DUIs
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 43% of the motor vehicle accidents that occurred between the Halloween nights of 2009 and 2013 involved drunk driving. In total, 119 people were killed by drunk driving across those five Halloween nights.
These statistics are sobering, but many people on Halloween will not be sober, especially those who are attending parties where alcohol is served. It can be emotionally distressing to know that you served someone alcohol who then subsequently was involved in a drunk driving car accident, and even more distressing to face criminal liability for that act.
The good news is that you can host a worry-free and successful Halloween party, as these incidents are totally preventable. It starts with taking steps to minimize your liability under Florida law and help make sure that your guests stay safe.
Florida Social Host Law
Florida is one of the states that has laws for social host liability for situations that involve minors and people with known alcohol addictions. You can be held liable if you permit underage children or teens to drink or provide them with alcohol, otherwise known as “furnishing” under Florida law. Simply serving alcohol to minors is a crime in itself, and further, if you serve a minor alcohol and that minor leaves your house and is involved in an accident, you can be liable for the injuries of the minor and any other damages that result from the accident. Additionally, if you serve alcohol to a person who you know has an alcohol addiction, you can be held liable for any injuries or damages resulting from that intoxication.
How to Prepare for Your Party:
- Designate drivers who will not be indulging.
- Hire a licensed bartender to serve the alcohol who can verify ages and monitor consumption.
- Purchase and prep plenty of food for people to eat.
- Prepare a safe space, such as a guest room, that you can offer for people to sober up in before driving home.
The Day of Your Party:
- Have everyone take a moment to download a ride-sharing application, such as Uber or Lyft, at the beginning of the party.
- Consider collecting keys from guests upon entry and storing them out of reach.
- Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends.
Facing Criminal Charges After a Party? We can Help
The Ocala and Gainesville criminal defense attorneys at The AP Law Group have significant experience helping people navigate through the scary situation of being charged with a crime. If you are facing charges, contact us for help today. It is critical that you obtain professional help as soon as possible.