Being over 21 doesn't mean you’re above the law.
You can be of legal drinking age and still be held responsible for underage drinking. Whether or not you are present when it occurs, if underage drinking happens in your home, backyard or on any other private property, you will be charged as a Social Host.
In Oklahoma, our Social Host laws puts the responsibility of underage drinking on the person who provides the location for the gathering. Ultimately, it is up to you to make sure underage individuals don’t drink on your property. You are also responsible for ensuring those individuals don’t leave your residence and endanger other drivers.
There are many misconceptions surrounding who can be considered a Social Host and what the host can be held accountable for. But Oklahoma has made its stance on this issue clear:
- A “Social Host” can be a minor or adult.
- The host does not have to be physically present or the actual property owner.
- Social Host violations carry a first-time fine of up to $500.
- If someone is injured or killed because of a Social Host violation, the host can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Fines and penalties increase with additional violations.
SOURCE: SB 383, c. 366, § 169, eff. October 1, 2018
Additional information and educational materials can be found at www.oklahomasocialhost.com
Tips for Parents
Many instances of underage drinking can be prevented by talking to your kids about the real dangers and consequences of drinking.
- Keep open lines of communication with your child.
- Have clear expectations related to alcohol and drug use.
- Follow through with consequences.
- Know your child’s friends and their parents.
- Be interested and involved in your child’s life.
- Ask if your child’s school offers AlcoholEdu or another evidence-based prevention program.
Tips for People Under 21
One common reason people under 21 feel compelled to drink is because of peer pressure. Peer pressure is the feeling that someone in your age group is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad. Their initial goal is usually to convince you that everyone else does it. In reality, very few people under 21 actually drink. According to the CDC, only 19% of high school students drink alcohol.
Things to think about when feeling pressured:
- Remember, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
- Trust your best judgment. It’s okay to say no.
- Consider the long-term consequences of your actions.
Be a good friend: Encourage others to make wise choices.
- Offer to be the designated non-drinking driver for your friends.
- Take a friend’s keys when he/she has had too much to drink.
- Encourage a friend to say no to drugs.
- Stop a friend from driving while drunk or drugged. Ask a trusted adult to help.