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Holiday party hosts responsible for intoxicated guests

NEWS 14
By: Chad Mira

GREENSBORO—Whether people are going out or staying in to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, police want everyone in the community to be safe.

Even though authorities say it is safer to stay in, hosting a party comes with a lot of responsibility. The party host can be held liable for over-serving alcohol; just like a bar.

“It’s extremely busy. Party goers, all other types of things, but generally it’s just busy. Every now and then we do have a major incident. Unfortunately what we see this time of year is a spike generally of handling intoxicated persons,” said Sgt. William Redfearn of the Greensboro Police Department.

On a night when a lot of people drink, hosting a house party comes with a fair share of responsibility.

“The law puts responsibility on the person serving alcohol, much like a bar serving alcohol and the standard is whether the host knew or should’ve known that somebody had too much to drink,” said attorney David Daggett.

So even if the host is not driving, he still needs to make sure his guests do not get behind the wheel of a car as well if they have had too much to drink.

“If they’re not responsible and continue to allow someone who’s going to drive to drink, they could be held responsible criminally and they could also be responsible civally,” said Daggett.

That means if a guest ends up in an accident, the host is liable for money damages too. While Sgt. Redfearn said it is safer to stay in, there are still some precautions to take.

“[The host should] have an alternate drink other than alcohol beverage, and activities that don’t involve drinking,” said Redfearn.

Daggett said if someone wants to host a party, it is smarter to get together at a bar or restaurant so they are not the one serving the alcohol. However everyone should still do their best to make sure no one drinks and drives.

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