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Providing Alcohol to Minors

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.

A group called Students Promoting Stronger Minds, a division of the Clay Action Coalition, developed a "Safe House" contract for parents and/or homeowners.

Click 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 drug use.

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.

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