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Social Host and DUI Liability


With the holiday season comes social gatherings and parties where alcohol will be served. Unfortunately, some people will drink too much and choose to drive after these parties. When a person drinks and drives, the party host who served the driver alcohol may wonder whether they can be liable for damages caused by the drunk driver.

Social Host Laws in Ohio

According to social host liability laws in Ohio, an individual or business host may be civilly and/or criminally liable in certain situations, including:

  • When a social host knowingly provides alcohol to persons under the age of 21

  • When a social host continues to serve alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated

Legal Consequences

When a social host serves alcohol to a person under 21, they may face first-degree criminal misdemeanor charges, regardless of whether any injury arises from alcohol consumption. This could result in a fine of up to $1000, a maximum of six months in jail, probation, and other legal consequences.

If a social host serves alcohol to a person who is under 21 or continues to serve alcohol to a person who is intoxicated, then civil liability could be imposed if the drinker injures another person. The dollar amount of liability depends on the extent of injuries sustained.

How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Social hosts should be mindful of the potential consequences that could occur if they violate the social host and dram shop laws. If a social host suspects that a patron may drive and receive a DUI, then they should know what actions should be taken to protect themselves from liability. A criminal defense attorney can provide legal advice to help social hosts develop policies to prevent the chance of liability.

An attorney can also provide legal representation to persons who have been charged with violations of the social host or dram shop laws. If a patron receives a DUI citation after consuming alcohol that a social host served, it is important that the host seek out immediate legal advice to review their rights and options.

An experienced attorney will be able to represent the social host during the claims process and court proceedings. They will advocate on the host's behalf and take the necessary actions to ensure a fair result.

The legal team at the Meranda Law Firm has experience representing businesses and individuals who are dealing with social host liability issues. They understand what it takes to protect a host's interests and will strive to achieve the best result.


If you have questions about social host liability or are facing allegations, contact the Meranda Law Firm at (614) 707-4239 to schedule a consultation.