Texas social host liability is the general term for Texas law regarding the serving of alcohol. The general rule is that a party host is not responsible for the actions of guests who consume alcohol. However, Texas passed legislation in 2005 that extends liability to party hosts who provide alcohol to underage minors.
Party Hosts Generally
The general rule is that a party host is not liable for the actions of adults who drink alcohol at a party. This is distinct from the way Texas law treats bars and restaurants, holding them liable alongside a drunk driver for damages.
Texas Social Host Law
The Texas social host law is in Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. It holds party hosts liable in two circumstances: if the hosts knowingly serve alcohol to minors on their property, or if the hosts supply car keys to an intoxicated adult on the host's property. The law requires knowledge by the host of the minor's age. Without actual knowledge of the minor's age, a party host will not be liable so long as the host's assumption is reasonable.
Violation of the Texas social host law is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year incarceration under Section 12.21 of the Texas Penal Code.
Regardless of potential liability, the best advice for any party host is to discourage excessive consumption of alcohol by guests, remove alcohol when the party is winding down and call cabs for any intoxicated guests.
- Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission: Social Hosting
- El Paso, Texas: Social Host Prevention
- Onecle: Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code -- Section 2.02 -- Causes of Action
- Texas Legislature: Texas Chapter 12 - Punishments
- Texas Cable News: "Teen Drinking Lawsuit May Publicize Texas' Host Law"; Diane Jennings and Selwyn Crawford; 2010
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