LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The next time you host a party in your home and serve drinks, you might want to keep a few things in mind.
Attorney Bryan Waldman is here to explain who can be held responsible when alcohol is involved for this week’s edition of Legal Edge.
Potential liability of someone who serves alcohol to another person is going to be dependent on their status. If a minor is served and consumes alcohol, goes out and kills themselves, and it’s determined that the use of alcohol is a direct and substantial cause of the minor’s death, well, then it becomes a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, plus a fine.
Obviously, you want to be responsible. First, you want to be sure whether you’re serving alcohol to an adult or minor.
The highest legal duty is that of a liquor license holder, such as a bar or restaurant that has a license to serve alcohol. The obligation or the duty is owned by what’s called social hosts. Ordinary people who are having a gathering or a party at their home, that’s going to be a different standard, a lower standard.
Generally, there’s no civil liability that attaches, or no responsibility to monitor the alcohol intake of a guest who’s of age: 21 years or older. Unless, of course, they’re a minor.
If they’re under the age of 21, the law is very clear that if they consume alcohol in the home, go out, cause a crash, injure or kill someone, then the social host could be held responsible because they violated the law.
Be responsible and make sure that alcohol isn’t consumed to excess, so that people aren’t behaving in an irresponsible way, and most importantly, not hurting or killing somebody else.