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What is social host liability?

If you enjoy hosting parties in your home for your family and friends, you should be aware of Missouri’s social host liability laws. These laws apply to you any time you furnish alcohol to your guests. They also apply to you if you allow your child to host a party in your home at which alcohol is available.

As FindLaw explains, under Missouri’s social host liability laws, you can be held liable if one of your or your child’s guests becomes inebriated at the party and injures or kills himself or herself or someone else while driving home or causes property damage.

Adult responsibility

As an adult, you have a duty not to supply alcohol to minors. If you intentionally allow your teenager to serve alcoholic drinks to his or her party guests, or if you know that alcohol will be available to party guests, you could be considered negligent if you knew or should have known that one or more of your teenager’s guests was likely to drive while impaired.

You also face this negligence risk with regard to your own adult party guests. In addition, this risk applies to any guest who you know or should know is already intoxicated, but nevertheless allow to consume more alcohol.

Your duty toward your and your child’s guests is one of reasonable care. That duty is not to furnish alcohol to them when it is illegal or inappropriate to do so. You also need to be aware that “furnishing” alcohol simply means making it available. Neither you nor your child needs to actually serve the drinks to a guest. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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