Hosting a Party? You’re Liable!

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: October 26, 2016

Social Host Liability and Parties

Hosting a Halloween Party? You’re Liable!

Celebrating Halloween can be a great time to get your family and friends together to dress up, take the kids trick or treating, and even host a Halloween party at your house.

We get it- hosting parties and gatherings are a part of life—we only want to inform you of your responsibly as a social host if something goes wrong when it comes to too much alcohol consumption.

In Arizona- any individual who is having a party is NOT liable for their guests if their guests drink too much and get into an auto accident if the guest is of the legal age to drink (21 years old).

What if you serve alcohol to an underage guest?

Now, if the guest is an underage drinker you DO have social host liabity.

For example, if you have a 20-year-old college student or even a high-schooler who throws a party at your house when you’re out of town, and somebody who is underage gets intoxicated and causes an accident, the homeowner, the homeowner’s insurance policy, and the 20-year-old is liable.

Another example similar to the above, if you’re throwing a party for adults and underage attendees get ahold of your alcohol or bring their own without your knowledge, the social host can be liable for an accident caused by the underage drinker. As the host and the adult responsible for the party, it’s your responsibility to keep a close eye on any underage guests.

So, our advice is always to be a responsible host by doing the following:

  • Have plenty of water and non-alcoholic drinks available at your gatherings.
  • Never let someone drink and drive.
  • Offer to call/pay for a taxi for your guests.
  • Always keep a close eye on any underage guests who may consume alcohol.
  • Do not serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years old.

Disclaimer: This is about Arizona law only.

Click here to listen to Doug Zanes’ podcast episode on this topic!


Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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