Dublin Social Host Law Stricter Than State Law


Provide alcohol to minors? In Dublin, you could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. The city of Dublin's "social host law" is stricter than state law. In Dublin, it is not only easier to prosecute this type of offense, but defendants can even face harsher penalties as well.

The Difference Between Dublin's & Ohio's Social Host Law

The major difference between Dublin's social host law and state social host law lies in one word – negligently. In most areas of Ohio, an individual can be charged with a violation of social host law for "knowingly" providing alcohol to underage drinkers. In Dublin, an individual can face this charge for "negligently" providing alcohol to underage drinkers.

While "knowingly" implies an act and intentionality, "negligently" implies an omission – a failure to do something. People in Dublin can be charged under social host law for "failing to perceive or avoid a risk that his conduct may cause a certain result or may be of a certain nature."

Has Dublin's social host law always been this way?

The city of Dublin's social host ordinance was modified in 2009 to change the word "knowingly" to "negligently." Prior to this, Dublin's city ordinance more closely reflected state law. In this six years since this change occurred, 14 Dublin residents have been charged for violating social host law. Five of those charged were 18 or older while nine of the 14 were under the age of 16.

The Parent's Obligation

If you are a Dublin resident and a parent of someone under the legal drinking age, your obligation is to closely monitor any gatherings that happen in your home. Whether your son or daughter is having a party or simply having one or two friends over, the city of Dublin can prosecute you if you allow drinking to happen. Remember, you can be prosecuted even if you were not directly aware of the drinking because you negligently allowed it.

More Facts About Dublin's Social Host Law

  • Violations of Dublin's social host law can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor.
  • Those convicted will face a maximum fine of $1,000 and max jail time of six months.
  • Social host law doesn't just apply to residences, but other places such as hotel rooms, banquet halls, or rented areas where there is adult supervision or permission.
  • You don't have to be at home to be charged under social host law. If individuals under 21 consume alcohol in your residence, even while you're not there, you could be charged.

One defense available to individuals charged under Dublin social host ordinance is that they attempted to prevent the underage consumption of alcohol. Otherwise, prosecution is extremely effective.

If you would like to read the ordinance in full, view § 111.05 "Sales to and Use by Underage Persons" and you can also read more on the City of Dublin's website. If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of social host law, contact a criminal defense attorney at Koffel Brininger Nesbitt.