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CRIMINAL SOCIAL HOST LAWS IN MISSOURI AND KANSAS: DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT IS INVOLVED IN HOSTING THAT PARTY?

DO YOU REALLY KNOW  WHAT IS INVOLVED IN HOSTING THAT PARTY?
CRIMINAL SOCIAL HOST LAWS IN KANSAS AND MISSOURI

As your children reach adolescence, you may find an increased desire on their part to have a party at your home involving their friends and classmates. Although this might be fun for your child, you should carefully consider your decision in light of the criminal social host statutes that are present in both Missouri and Kansas.

The Laws
In Missouri, Section 311.310.2 R.S. MO provides as follows:
2. Any owner, occupant, or other person or legal entity with a lawful right to the exclusive use and enjoyment of any property who knowingly allows a person under the age of twenty-one to drink or possess intoxicating liquor or knowingly fails to stop a person under the age of twenty-one from drinking or possessing intoxicating liquor on such property, unless such person allowing the person under the age of twenty-one to drink or possess intoxicating liquor is his or her parent or guardian, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a class A misdemeanor.

In Missouri, a class B misdemeanor is punishable with up to a 6 month jail term and up to a $500 fine.

In Kansas, K.S.A. 21-3610c provides as follows:
21-3610c. Unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcohol.
(a)    Unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage is intentionally or recklessly permitting a person’s residence or any land, building, structure or room owned, occupied or procured by such person to be used by an invitee of such person or an invitee of such person’s child or ward, in a manner that results in the possession or consumption therein of alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages by a minor.
(b) Unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage is a class A person misdemeanor, for which the minimum fine is $1,000. If the court sentences the offender to perform community or public service work as a condition of probation, as described in subsection (c)(10) of K.S.A. 21-4610, and amendments thereto, the court shall consider ordering the offender to serve the community or public service at an alcohol treatment facility.
(c) As used in this section, terms have the meanings provided by K.S.A. 41-102, and amendments thereto.
(d) The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to create any civil liability for any lodging establishment, as defined in K.S.A. 36-501, and amendments thereto.
(e) This section shall be a part of and supplemental to the Kansas criminal code.

Obviously, the facts of any given party situation will control the application of these statutes but it is important to consider the following common fact patterns that can lead to charges being filed:
  • It is not uncommon for police to be called to parties that are not appropriately chaperoned.
  • Party goers may be stopped by the police on their way home and found to have consumed alcohol at your party.
  • A parent discovers that their child has been drinking at your party and calls the police.
  • School administrators and/or police resource officers learn of alcohol involvement at your party and charges are filed.

Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Teen’s Party
  • Agree on a guest list and don’t admit others;
  • Everyone attending must leave their coats, purses, backpacks etc. in a location that is unavailable to them during the party;
  • No one should be allowed to bring beverages into the party from the outside;
  • No one should be allowed to go to their car during the party unless they are leaving for good;
  • No one should be allowed to leave and return to the party;
  • Parents should be visible and available;
  • Your liquor cabinet should be locked or otherwise inaccessible to the party goers;
  • Anyone found to be drinking should not be allowed to leave the party and their parents should be called.

For more information concerning social host laws in Missouri and Kansas, contact the experienced attorneys of Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at 816-471-5111.
James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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