Last year in Florida, authorities issued 43,899 driving under the influence (DUI ) violation tickets, resulting in 24,334 DUI convictions.
If you host a party that involves alcohol and/or drugs, and from which some guests are driving home, there is always a chance that one or more of your guests end the night with a DUI arrest. Not only do drunk drivers run the risk of seriously injuring themselves or others, but the state may also hold you responsible for your guests’ criminal actions.
In some jurisdictions, the host of a party may face liability for the actions of intoxicated party guests, a practice commonly known as social host liability. The state imposes liability on party hosts under Florida’s open house parties law.
Florida’s Open House Party Law
The state’s open house parties law, enacted in 2012, prohibits people from allowing an open house party to take place at their residence where:
- Any minors are consuming or possessing any alcohol or drugs,
- The individuals know that these activities are occurring
- They fail to take reasonable steps to prevent such possession or consumption
The law defines an open house party as a social gathering at a residence, but excludes legally protected religious observances or activities from prosecution.
According to the law, an adult who permits a minor to consume alcohol or drugs at a non-legally protected social gathering occuring at the adult’s residence may face partial liability for the minors’ actions. Importantly, this law only applies to minors, and not to adults of legal drinking age.
Negligence in Relation to Intoxicated Driving
Beyond social host liability laws, you, as a party host, may face liability for the actions of your party guests due to your own negligence. Florida law defines negligence as the failure to use reasonable care. In other words, negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under similar circumstances, or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances.
With regard to your party guests’ intoxicated driving, you face liability for their actions if you acted negligently in the situation. For example, if you knowingly permitted them to drive under the influence, either by providing them with a vehicle to drive or by failing to take reasonable action to stop them, and you were aware of their intoxication, you may face at least partial liability for their actions under Florida law.
Call the Khonsari Law Group if Your Guest Got a DUI
If you are worried that you may face liability for the actions of a guest who was charged with DUI after leaving your party, contact a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300, or contact us online, to speak with one of our experienced DUI defense attorneys based in St. Petersburg, Florida, today.