Hosting a Holiday House Party?  Here’s what you should know


Consumption of alcohol and drugs occurs throughout the year but more people choose to “let loose” during December, the holiday season.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with hosting events and ensuring that your guests have a fantastic time, there are a few things to bear in mind.


If you host a party, your guests’ actions while at your home and after they leave your home could impact you from a legal liability perspective.  This means that if they are intoxicated and therefore injure themselves at your home, you could be sued for personal injury.  It also means that if your guest leaves your home intoxicated and then has an accident, the home owner that hosted the party could be sued for negligence due to “social host liability”.


Alcohol, prescription medication and drugs hit everyone differently.  Body weight, what you ate that day, how much you slept, whether there are other substances in your body, alcohol tolerance and other factors can all impact how alcohol consumption makes you feel, however, that’s not the legal test for intoxication.  Your blood alcohol level will be measured based on how much alcohol is in your blood stream.  “Experienced drinkers” may not feel anything after a few drinks but they could still blow over the legal limit on a breathalyzer.  “Blowing over” results in a criminal charge, a lot of regret, stress, anxiety and expense.


The criminal aspect however is only one issue.  If you get behind the wheel and strike a person or property, you may be liable from a civil perspective.  This means someone could sue you for damages as well as the person that hosted the party given that they served you alcohol resulting in intoxication and permitting a guest to get behind the wheel.


Some tips are to request that people use ride share apps or public transit when sending out invites.  If people choose to drive, some hosts keep keys until it’s time to leave so they can ensure their guest is capable of driving.  As people get older, this becomes more difficult and can be a little awkward but ensuring to properly check on your guests before they depart and ensure that they have a way to get home is necessary to ensuring everyone’s safety as well as to minimize liability exposure.