Party Hosts Could Be Liable For Drunk Guests - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/12/05

Party Hosts Could Be Liable For Drunk Guests

Hosts need to toast to the holidays responsibly. "There's always some civil liability at your home whether that be someone tripping on your sidewalk or with alcohol involved," says Lt. Harry Schreffler with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission or TABC.

Private parties in your home do not require an alcohol license but Lt. Schreffler says you are liable for your guests. "You have some responsibility to ensure those guests stay safe while at your home and on the way home."

If a guest leaves your party intoxicated, drives and gets into a collision, you could be held responsible in civil court. Lt. Schreffler says, "Everyone hopes that friend won't sue but if that friend dies, would the family sue or would the estate sue?

Lt. Schreffler does not encourage drunkenness but suggests creating a designated driver for the party. If alcohol is available to minors at your party, you can also be held responsible. Lt. Schreffler says, "In the state of Texas, the only person that can legally provide alcohol to a minor is that minor's parent, court appointed guardian or legal age spouse."

If that minor leaves the party and gets into an accident, the host who either provided the alcohol or a place for alcohol to be served, could automatically lose their driver's license. New laws that went into effect this past September hold the adult responsible for any damages the intoxicated minor caused.

Lt. Schreffler says, "If anyone is intoxicated, take care of that person. Do what you can to keep them safe. Not only are you doing a service to yourself because of liability but you're doing a service to a friend or guest you allowed to come to your party."

If you opt to socialize outside of your home, like at a bar or other public place, you also need to drink responsibly. TABC agents are targeting public intoxication, trying to stop potential traffic collisions before a drunk driver gets behind the wheel.

For more information on alcohol related laws in Texas, ( click here ).

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