ABOUT THE ORDINANCE
Adults are accountable when they provide alcohol to minors or allow underage house parties on their property where alcohol is being consumed. Novato’s Social Host Accountability City Ordinance, introduced in 1992, allows law enforcement officials to issue misdemeanor citations, with a cost of up to $1000, to the host of a party where youth are in possession and consuming alcohol. If the host is a minor (under 18), both the host and his or her guardians may be responsible for fines. In addition to misdemeanor fees, the underage host and/or parent may be charged for police service costs, which can run up to $2000. Underage drinkers also face consequences if caught in possession of and consuming alcohol. The police will contact parents who will have to pick up their child at the party site. An inebriated teen may even be sent to jail. In short: you host, you lose.
Face Fines of $1000-$3000 and possible jail time when:
- you allow two or more minors (youth under 21) to drink on your property or a property under your control.
- youth under age 18 are cited—parents/guardians are jointly responsible.
QUICK TIPS for Preventing and Reporting Unsupervised Minor Parties
· Never provide alcohol to a minor or allow minors to drink on your property or a property/event under your control.
· Actively supervise all gatherings of youth. Be present and aware.
· Let other parents and adults know you expect the same from them.
· Call the police at 415-897-4361 if you know of a party that might happen or is happening. You could save a life. You can report parties without leaving your name and in any language.
· Always call 911 in the case of an emergency, even if your actions contributed to underage drinking. Police will take your efforts to address the emergency into consideration when issuing a penalty.
· GET EDUCATED:
Read the Ordinance in the City of Novato’s Municipal Code: 14-16 Unsupervised Minor Alcohol Gatherings and Response Costs.
· Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth works on changing social norms and environments surrounding youth access to—and use of—alcohol and other drugs. Visit www.novatoblueribbon.org for more information.
· Healthy Novato Project provides information for parents and youth to navigate underage drinking prevention and intervention. Visit www.healthynovato.org
Report a party (in any language): 415-897-4361
In Case of Emergency: 9-1-1