Teenage DUI– Convict the Homeowner??


It’s called the Social Host Ordinance.  Although it is not here in Pennsylvania in an explicit statute, where the SHO statute is in place, the SHO applies to any gathering where three or more people are present in a private home where alcohol is served to minors under the age of 21. If passed, not only will  the teen be convicted for DUI, but also the private homeowners who hosted the party will have to pay for damages to persons injured in an accident .  The homeowner will be fined $750 for the first time. Second and third offenses will count as misdemeanors.  The ordinance is already in place in a few cities of  Orange County, California and is to be voted on to incorporate more cities.

Proposed OC Law Would Make Hosts Responsible for Drunken Underage Guests
Dec 17, 2013 Orange County, CA

The families of DUI victims on Monday joined law enforcement and county officials to urge the Orange County Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance that would make it illegal to serve alcohol to minors at a gathering where three or more people are present in a private home.

The homeowner would have to have knowledge of the drinking. A first offense would result in a fine of $750. The second offense and those thereafter would be considered a misdemeanor.

You can read the rest of the article here:


The is bad legislation and does not address the issue of teenage DUI. These kind of laws end up confusing police, adults and teens.    It is based on an absurd policy of charging adults  who “should have known” kids were drinking.   They appear to have good intentions but are built on puritanical lies.  These false notions jeopardize our freedom and push the most vulnerable teens into more dangerous behaviors. It promotes teens to seek unsupervised drinking areas that will lead to a higher risk of teens driving drunk.

The American approach to teen drinking is dishonest and ineffective.   The result is erosion of the social education through which families and communities teach young people together to make responsible decisions.

Idealistic laws always produce unrealistic ends.  The Social Host Ordinance will end up with more kids sneaking around to drink in hidden places.  Adults will close more doors to teens and be nowhere near to help. And the last thing we need to do is give our officers more arbitrary discretion to enter our homes without being trained to use that power rationally. Let freedom ring!

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Avvo.com. Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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