Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

CA Social Hosting Laws: How They Affect You and Your Son

“A beer or two is normal in high school.”

“I had my first drink when I was 14, and I turned out okay.”

“He’s going to drink anyway. At least if I let him drink at home he won’t drink and drive.”

Many parents justify teen alcohol use and even embrace it to the point that they allow it in their own home. It’s an issue that lawmakers in many states are attempting to address by instituting a new set of laws called social hosting laws.

The Goal of Social Hosting Laws

The single focus of social hosting laws is to stop the widespread harm done by teenage alcohol use. There are so many problems that result—both chronic and acute—and by placing the burden of responsibility on adults in charge of teens, the hope is that there will be less teen drinking and less damage as a result.

Not every state has instituted social hosting laws as of yet, and those that have instituted them have chosen different parameters and consequences. Some only charge parents and guardians when teen drinking done at their home results in an accident, drunk driving charge, or overdose. Others charge parents when any underage drinking is identified in their residence for any purpose—whether or not they had knowledge of it.


When a teenager drinks, nothing good comes of it. According to a whole body of research dedicated to the subject, it has been found that teen drinking often results in:

  • Car accidents
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Teen drug use
  • Medical emergencies, including overdoses
  • Decreased cognitive functioning
  • Worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Increased rates of addiction in adulthood

The hope is that if parents are being proactive against teen alcohol use then these issues will be less problematic.

California Social Hosting Laws

In California, there are no social hosting laws as of yet, however, many parents are unaware that there are regulations on the books that prohibit adults from providing alcohol to a minor under any circumstances.

Says the Partnership at, “A parent, guardian, or another adult who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person under 21 years of age, may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury or damages to any third person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.”

You can learn more about the treatment options available to help your son avoid the consequences of teen alcohol use when you contact us at Muir Wood. Call the number above or download an admissions packet today.