Chapter 9.25
UNDERAGE DRINKING/SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY

Sections:

9.25.010    Title.

9.25.020    Legislative findings.

9.25.030    Intent and purpose.

9.25.040    Definitions.

9.25.050    Consumption of alcohol by minor prohibited in public place, place open to public, or place not open to public.

9.25.060    Hosting, permitting, and allowing a party, gathering or event where minors consume alcoholic beverages prohibited.

9.25.070    Prima facie evidence.

9.25.080    Separate violation for each incident.

9.25.090    Enforcement authority.

9.25.100    Enforcement remedies.

9.25.110    Public nuisance and recovery of response costs.

9.25.120    Billing and collection.

9.25.130    Special fund.

9.25.140    Appeals.

9.25.150    Severability.

9.25.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the “underage drinking/social host liability ordinance.” (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.020 Legislative findings.

A. Minors often obtain, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages at gatherings held at private residences or other private property, places or premises, including rented commercial premises which are under the control of a person who knows or should know of the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors yet persons responsible for the occurrence of such gatherings often fail to take reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors at these gatherings.

B. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors, who are under the legal age to consume alcohol in the state of California, is harmful to the minors themselves and poses an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare in that it increases alcohol abuse by minors, physical altercations, violent crimes including rape and other sexual offenses, accidental injury, neighborhood vandalism, and excessive noise disturbance, all of which may require intervention by local law enforcement.

C. Law enforcement responses to gatherings involving consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors often require extensive resources to manage the incident. Further, when law enforcement personnel respond to gatherings involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors it takes away valuable resources from other service calls in the community, thereby placing the community at increased risk. Law enforcement, fire and emergency response services are not currently reimbursed for the response cost associated when called to premises or a gathering where minors obtain, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages.

D. The prohibitions found in this chapter are reasonable and expected to deter the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors by holding responsible persons who know of, or should know of, the illegal conduct yet fail to stop or prevent it. In addition, the revenue received by the city of Hughson after cost reimbursement will be directed toward alcohol abuse and prevention education programs in the community. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.030 Intent and purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are:

A. To protect public health, safety and general welfare;

B. To enforce laws prohibiting the service to and consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors; and

C. To reduce the costs of providing law enforcement, fire, and other emergency response services to premises where alcoholic beverages are served to or consumed by a minor, by holding the responsible person, social host and/or landowners responsible for the costs associated with providing law enforcement and other emergency response services. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.040 Definitions.

The terms used in this chapter have the meaning provided by state law except as expressly provided herein.

A. “Adult” is any person over the age of 18 years.

B. “Alcoholic beverage” includes any liquid or solid material intended to be ingested by a person which contains ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol, or alcohol, including, but not limited to, alcoholic beverages as defined in Section 23004 of the Business and Professions Code, intoxicating liquor, malt beverage, beer, wine, spirits, liqueur, whiskey, rum, vodka, cordials, gin, and brandy, and any mixture containing one or more alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverage includes a mixture of one or more alcoholic beverages whether found or ingested separately or as a mixture.

C. “Alcohol” means ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine, from whatever source or by whatever process produced.

D. “Response costs” are the costs associated with response by law enforcement, fire, or other emergency response providers to a gathering, including but not limited to: (1) salaries and benefits of law enforcement, code enforcement, fire or other emergency response personnel for the amount of time spent responding to, remaining at, or otherwise dealing with a gathering, and the administrative cost associated with or attributed to such response(s); (2) the cost of any medical treatment for any law enforcement, code enforcement, fire, or other emergency response personnel injured responding to, remaining at, or leaving the scene of a gathering; (3) the cost of repairing any city equipment or property damaged, and the cost of the use of any such equipment in, responding to, remaining at, or leaving the scene of a gathering; and (4) any other allowable costs related to enforcement of HMC 9.25.050 and 9.25.060.

E. “Family gathering” is a gathering where each minor present is supervised by his or her parent or legal guardian.

F. “Legal guardian” means (1) a person who, by court order, is the guardian of the person of a minor; or (2) a public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by the court.

G. “Minor” is any person under the age of 21 years.

H. “Juvenile” is any person under the age of 18 years.

I. “Parent” is a person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or step-parent of another person.

J. “Gathering” is a party, gathering or event where a group of two or more persons have assembled or are assembling for a social occasion or social activity.

K. “Premises” means any residence or other private property, place, or premises, including any commercial or business premises.

L. “Social host” is a person who knowingly hosts, permits, or allows a gathering to take place where one or more minors consume one or more alcoholic beverage on property owned or controlled by the person and the person knows or reasonably should have known that the minor is consuming or has consumed an alcoholic beverage.

M. “Responsible person” means a person or persons with a right of possession of the premises including, but not limited to:

1. An owner of the residence or other private property, place or premises, including any commercial or business premises;

2. A tenant or lessee of the residence or other private property, place or premises, including any commercial or business premises;

3. The landlord of another person responsible for the gathering;

4. The person(s) in charge of the residence or other private property, place or premises, including commercial or business premises; and

5. The person(s) who organizes, supervises, officiates, conducts or controls the gathering or any other person(s) accepting responsibility for such a gathering.

6. If a responsible person or social host for the party or gathering is a juvenile, then the parents or guardians of that juvenile and the juvenile will be jointly and severally liable for the response costs incurred pursuant to this chapter. To incur liability for response costs imposed by this chapter, the responsible person or social host for the gathering must be aware of the gathering, but need not be present at such gathering which results in the imposition of response costs pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.050 Consumption of alcohol by minor prohibited in public place, place open to public, or place not open to public.

Except as permitted by state law, it is unlawful for any minor to:

A. Consume at any public place or any place open to the public any alcoholic beverage; or

B. Consume at any place not open to the public any alcoholic beverage, unless in connection with the consumption of the alcoholic beverages that minor is being supervised by his or her own parent or legal guardian. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.060 Hosting, permitting, and allowing a party, gathering or event where minors consume alcoholic beverages prohibited.

A. It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person having control of any premises to knowingly host, permit, or allow a gathering to take place at said premises where at least one minor consumes an alcoholic beverage, whenever the person having control of the premises either knows a minor is or has consumed an alcoholic beverage or reasonably should have known that a minor is or has consumed an alcoholic beverage had the person taken all reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by a minor as set forth in subsection B of this section.

B. It is the duty of any person having control of any premises, who knowingly hosts, permits or allows a gathering at said premises to take all reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by any minor at the gathering. Reasonable steps include, but are not limited to, (1) controlling access to alcoholic beverages at the gathering, (2) controlling the quantity of alcoholic beverages at the gathering, (3) verifying the age of persons attending the gathering by inspecting drivers’ licenses or other government-issued identification cards to ensure minors do not consume alcoholic beverages while at the gathering, and (4) supervising the activities of minors at the gathering.

C. This section shall not apply to conduct involving the use of alcoholic beverages that occurs exclusively between a minor and his or her parent or legal guardian, as permitted by Article I, Section 4, of the California Constitution or if the event is a family gathering.

D. This section shall not apply to any California Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control licensee at any premises regulated by the Department of Alcoholic Beverages Control. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.070 Prima facie evidence.

Whenever a responsible person and/or social host having control of the premises is present at the premises at the time that a minor obtains, possesses, or consumes any alcoholic beverage, it shall be prima facie evidence that such adult had the knowledge or should have had the knowledge, that the minor obtained, possessed, or consumed an alcoholic beverage at the gathering. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.080 Separate violation for each incident.

Each incident in violation of HMC 9.25.050 and 9.25.060 shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.090 Enforcement authority.

The city of Hughson’s police services, city attorney, and code enforcement officers are authorized to administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.100 Enforcement remedies.

In addition to any other remedies available by law, including criminal prosecution, the city of Hughson may seek administrative penalties, response costs, and other costs associated with enforcement of HMC 9.25.050 and 9.25.060, through all remedies or procedures provided by statute, ordinance, or law, including but not limited to, HMC Title 1, HMC 9.25.050 and 9.25.060 shall not limit the authority of peace officers to make arrests for any criminal offense arising out of conduct regulated by HMC 9.25.050 and 9.25.060.

If a violation of HMC 9.25.050 and/or 9.25.060 is prosecuted administratively the mandatory minimum penalty shall be $500.00 for the first offense, and $1,000 for a second offense, and $1,500 for a third offense in a 12-month period. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.110 Public nuisance and recovery of response costs.

A. In addition to any other remedies available by law, a violation of HMC 9.25.050 and/or 9.25.060 shall constitute a public nuisance, as an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare.

B. As a public nuisance, the gathering of underage drinkers may be summarily abated by the city’s police services personnel by all reasonable means, singularly or in combination, including, but not limited to:

1. An order requiring the gathering to be disbanded;

2. Issuance of an administrative citation under this code;

3. Issuance of an administrative citation, misdemeanor citation and/or arrest of any law violators under any other applicable ordinances and/or statutes.

C. When law enforcement, fire, or other emergency response provider responds to a gathering at which a minor obtains, possesses, or uses alcoholic beverages within the city of Hughson, all responsible persons and/or social host(s) shall be jointly and severally liable for the city of Hughson’s response costs to abate the nuisance. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.120 Billing and collection.

A. The amount of response costs shall be deemed a debt owed to the city of Hughson by the responsible person and/or social host, or if the responsible person and/or social host is a juvenile, by the juvenile’s parents or guardians. Any person owing such costs shall be liable in a civil action brought in the name of the city for recovery of such costs, including reasonable attorney fees.

Notice of the costs for which the responsible person is liable shall be mailed via first-class mail. The notice shall contain the following information:

1. The name of the person(s) being held liable for the payment of such costs;

2. The address of the private property or private premises where the party occurred;

3. The date and time of the response;

4. The law enforcement, fire, or emergency service provider(s) who responded;

5. An itemized list of the response costs for which the person(s) is being held liable.

The responsible person must remit payment of the noticed response costs to the city of Hughson within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice. The payment of any such costs shall be stayed upon the filing of a timely appeal pursuant to HMC 9.25.140.

B. The failure of any person to pay the penalties assessed by an administrative citation and/or response costs within the time specified on the administrative citation or response cost bill may result in referring the matter to the finance department or other designated agent for collection, including the recording of a code enforcement lien pursuant to the procedures set forth in HMC Title 1. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.130 Special fund.

A. There is hereby established a special fund for the purposes of receiving and expending civil penalties and response costs collected. This special fund shall be known and designated as the prevention of underage drinking fund.

B. Expenditure of Monies. The appropriation of all monies in the prevention of underage drinking fund shall be made exclusively for the purposes of prevention of underage drinking programs within the city of Hughson.

C. Accumulation of Monies in the Fund. The balance remaining in the prevention of underage drinking fund at the close of any fiscal year shall be deemed to have been provided for a specialized purpose and shall be carried forward and accumulated in said fund for the purposes set forth herein. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.140 Appeals.

A. Any person upon who is imposed a fine/penalty pursuant to HMC 9.25.100 and/or response costs pursuant to HMC 9.25.110 shall have the right to appeal the imposition of such fine/penalty or response costs pursuant to the appeal procedures set forth in HMC Title 1.

B. Failure to appeal shall constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies and result in the citation and/or response cost becoming a final administrative enforcement order. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)

9.25.150 Severability.

If any provisions of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable. (Ord. 11-06 § 1, 2011)