Chapter 5.68


5.68.010    Purpose

5.68.020    Definitions

5.68.030    Unlawful Gatherings

5.68.040    Public Nuisance

5.68.050    Exceptions

5.68.060    Cost Recovery

5.68.070    Violation And Penalty

5.68.080    Remedies Nonexclusive

5.68.090    No Mandatory Duty Of Care

5.68.100    No Conflict

5.68.110    Severability

5.68.010 PURPOSE:

A.    The control of large parties, gatherings or events on private property is necessary when such continued activity is determined to be a threat to peace, health, safety or the general welfare of the public.

B.    Police officers have been required to make numerous return calls to the location of parties, gatherings or events in order to disperse uncooperative participants, and the return of the police officers to a location constitutes a drain of city resources, often leaving other areas of the city with minimal levels of police protection.

C.    All of the aforesaid circumstances create a significant hazard to the safety of police officers and to the public in general and constitute a public nuisance.

D.    The consumption of alcohol by minors at the aforesaid parties, gatherings or events creates a threat to the well-being of such minors and the persons with whom they come into contact, and as such, is harmful to the health, safety and welfare of the community. Imposing both criminal and financial liability on adults permitting such conduct is an effective means to prevent and reduce consumption of alcohol by minors.

E.    This chapter, preparation of which was a collaborative effort of city staff, the city council and the Gonzales youth council, seeks to discourage underage consumption of alcohol on private property at social gatherings and to discourage the occurrence of repeated loud and unruly gatherings which require multiple police responses, and to subject the persons responsible for such gatherings to appropriate fines, penalties and enforcement.

F.    This chapter also seeks to offset the city’s costs associated with providing fire, police and other emergency services to gatherings where alcohol is served to or consumed by or in the possession of persons under the age of twenty one (21) years. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


Whenever used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning defined in this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise:


"Alcohol" or "alcoholic beverage" shall have the meaning given to these terms under state law, including but not limited to Business and Professions Code sections 23003 and 23004, as may be amended from time to time, and any successor section thereto, and shall include but not be limited to ethyl alcohol, liquor, spirits of wine, beer, and every liquid or solid containing alcohol, spirits, liquor, wine or beer.


The actual or apparent authority and ability to regulate, direct or dominate a private premises, including, but not limited to, the control exercised by tenants, lessees, and owners who have notice of underage drinking on their property.


Being aware of, or having reason to be aware of, a party, gathering or event.


Any person under the age of twenty one (21) years.


A group of five (5) or more persons who have assembled or are assembling for a social occasion or a social activity, at least one of whom is a minor and not a blood relative.


Any person(s) who owns, rents or otherwise controls a premises that knowingly hosts, permits, promotes, organizes, or allows a gathering at which they allow the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premises or fails to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by any minor on such premises.


Any home, yard, open areas adjacent thereto, and accessory structures; apartment, condominium; hotel or motel room; or a hall or meeting room; or any other dwelling unit, whether occupied on a temporary or permanent basis, and whether occupied as a dwelling, for a party, or for other social function and whether owned, leased, rented, or used with or without compensation. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


It shall be unlawful for any person(s) to permit, allow or host a party, gathering, or event at his or her place of residence or on other private premises under the person(s)’ control where alcoholic beverages are in the possession of or consumed by any minor, or to fail to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by a minor on such premises. Reasonable corrective action shall include, but is not limited to:

A.    Verifying the age of persons attending the social gathering by inspecting driver’s licenses or other government-issued identification cards;

B.    Making a prompt demand that such minor either forfeit the alcoholic beverages and refrain from consumption of such or depart from the premises;

C.    If such minor does not comply with such request, either promptly reporting such underage consumption of alcohol to the local law enforcement agency or to any other person having a greater degree of authority over the conduct of such minor. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


It is hereby declared to be a public nuisance for any person to permit, allow, or host a party, gathering, or event at his or her place of residence (or other private premises under his or her ownership or control) where alcoholic beverages are in the possession of, or are being consumed by, any minor. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)

5.68.050 EXCEPTIONS:

Nothing in this chapter should be interpreted to prohibit the consumption or possession of alcohol by an underage person for legally protected religious practices or a legally protected family gathering involving the use of alcoholic beverages which occur exclusively between a minor and his or her parent or legal guardian, pursuant to Article 1, Chapter 4 of the California Constitution. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


A.    For the purpose of cost recovery, the city shall be entitled to recover from any person found to be in violation of any provision of this chapter the city’s full response costs. In the event the person who violates this chapter is a minor, then the minor and his or her parents or guardians shall be jointly and severally liable for any cost recovery.

B.    For purposes of this chapter, the term "response costs" shall mean those reasonable and necessary costs directly or indirectly incurred by the city for a response to any gathering, party, event or other circumstances where alcohol has been served to, consumed or possessed by persons under the age of twenty one (21) years. Response costs shall include the cost of providing police, fire and/or emergency response services to the scene of such a gathering, party, event or circumstance to include, but not be limited to, (1) salaries and benefits of law enforcement and/or emergency personnel for the full amount of time spent responding to, remaining at, or otherwise dealing with such gatherings, parties, events or circumstances, and the administrative costs attributable to such responses; (2) costs of any medical treatment to or for any law enforcement personnel injured while responding to, remaining at, or leaving the scene of such gathering, party, event or other circumstance; and (3) cost to repair any city equipment or property damaged and the cost of the use of any such equipment used in responding to, remaining at, or leaving the scene of such gathering, party, event or other circumstance.

C.    The city’s response costs shall be deemed a debt owed to the city and may be recovered by the city in a civil action. The city may recover any attorney fees and costs incurred in the action if the city brings a civil action and prevails.

D.    The city may impose a lien on the property involved in a violation of this chapter in accordance with applicable law to collect any unpaid response costs assessed in accord with this chapter. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


A.    Violation of provisions of this chapter shall be an infraction. The fines for said infractions shall be as follows:

First violation: three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00).

Second violation: five hundred fifty dollars ($550.00).

Third or more violation in the same twelve (12) month period: seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00).

B.    Individuals may choose to take a course approved by the court or preapproved by this chapter in lieu of paying the designated fine. The approved course is North American Learning Institute – Minor in Possession ( Note that this option is only available for the first and second infractions and the course can only be taken once. If a person has three (3) or more infractions, participation in a class is no longer an option and is an additional punishment on top of the fine and recovery costs.

C.    Individuals shall have thirty (30) days to complete the aforesaid course. Proof of completion must be provided to the chief of police or his/her designee within the thirty (30) day time period. Failure to complete the class within the thirty (30) day period will result in the imposition of the appropriate fine set forth above. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


Nothing in this chapter in any way limits any other remedy that may be available to the city, or any penalty that may be imposed by the city, for violations of this chapter. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


This chapter is not intended to impose, and shall not be construed or given the effect in a manner that imposes, upon the city, or any officer, employee, agent or other representative of the city, a mandatory duty of care towards or property within and without the city limits, so as to provide the basis of civil liability for damages, except as may otherwise be imposed by law. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)

5.68.100 NO CONFLICT:

This chapter shall not be interpreted in any manner that conflicts with the laws or constitutions of the United States or the state of California. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)


The provisions of this chapter are severable and if any provision, clause, sentence word or part thereof is held illegal, invalid, unconstitutional, or inapplicable to any person or circumstances, such illegality, invalidity, unconstitutionality, or inapplicability shall not affect or impact any of the remaining provisions, clauses, sentences, sections, words or parts thereof of the chapter or their applicability to other persons or circumstances. (Ord. 2017-102, 9-18-2017)