Chapter 8.32
SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY ORDINANCE

Sections:

8.32.010    Definitions.

8.32.020    Loud or unruly gatherings.

8.32.030    Cost recovery for sheriff services.

8.32.040    Consumption of alcohol by an underage person in a public place, place open to public, or place not open to public.

8.32.050    Hosting, permitting, or allowing a gathering where an underage person consumes an alcoholic beverage.

8.32.060    Reservation of legal options.

8.32.070    Severability.

8.32.010 Definitions.

The following terms used in this chapter shall have the meaning set forth in this section:

“Alcohol” means ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine, from whatever source or by whatever process produced, but does not include alcohol used for medical purposes when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital, or medical institution.

“Alcoholic beverage” has the same meaning as set forth in California Business and Professions Code Section 23004.

“Gathering” means a group of persons who have assembled or are assembling for an event or social activity such as a party, at a private residence, private premises, or as permitted on public property.

“Guardian” means: (1) a person who, under 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.

“Loud or unruly gathering” means a gathering of two or more persons on public or private property, or a permitted gathering of two or more persons on public or private property whose loud or unruly conduct constitutes a threat to public health, safety, quiet enjoyment of residential property or general welfare, including, but not limited to, violations of Chapter 8.30 SCCC. A loud or unruly gathering shall constitute a public nuisance.

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

“Premises” is privately owned land, including any appurtenances or structures on the land.

“Private residence” means the place where one actually lives or has his or her home.

“Responsible person(s)” means a person(s) with a right of possession in the property on which a loud or unruly gathering is conducted, including, but not limited to, an owner or tenant of the property if the gathering is on private property, or a permittee if the gathering is a permitted gathering on public property, or any person(s) accepting responsibility for such a gathering. “Responsible person” shall additionally include the landlord of another responsible person and the parents and/or legal guardians of responsible persons under the age of 21 years. To incur liability for special enforcement charges imposed by this chapter the responsible person need not be present at the loud or unruly gathering resulting in the emergency response giving rise to the imposition of special enforcement charges. This chapter therefore imposes vicarious as well as direct liability upon responsible persons.

“Special enforcement” includes the cost of salaries and benefits of law enforcement officers or other emergency response personnel for the amount of time actually spent in responding to, or in remaining at, or otherwise managing the response to the party, gathering, or event (with a minimum charge of one hour); the actual cost of any medical treatment to injured law enforcement officers or other emergency response personnel; the cost of repairing any damaged County equipment or property; and the cost arising from the use of any damaged County equipment in responding to or remaining at the party, gathering, or event; together with an additional 33 percent of the special security charge for administrative overhead.

“Underage person” means any person less than 21 years of age. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.020 Loud or unruly gatherings.

(A)    It is unlawful and constitutes an infraction for a responsible person to conduct or allow a loud or unruly gathering on premises owned by the responsible person or on premises rented by or to the responsible person.

(1)    When a Sheriff’s deputy responds to a loud or unruly gathering, the deputy shall inform any responsible person at the scene that:

(a)    The deputy has determined that a loud or unruly gathering exists; and

(b)    Subsequent responses to the premises within the next 12 months involving the same responsible person shall result in the responsible person being charged for the cost of any special enforcement. Only one warning will be given before the County assesses special enforcement costs pursuant to SCCC 8.32.030. If a responsible person cannot be identified at the scene, the Sheriff may issue a warning to other responsible persons identified in SCCC 8.32.010, or subsequently return to the scene and issue the warning to a then-present responsible person. Warnings given to responsible persons who do not reside at the premises in question shall be delivered by certified mail. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.030 Cost recovery for sheriff services.

(A)    Where the Sheriff’s Department responds to a loud or unruly gathering at a premises within 12 months of a warning being given to a responsible person for those same premises pursuant to SCCC 8.32.020, or while any such warning remains in effect pursuant to subsection (B) of this section, all responsible persons shall be jointly and severally liable for all of the special enforcement costs for that response and all subsequent responses during the warning period. If the responsible person is a minor, the parents or guardians of that person shall be liable for such costs.

(B)    A warning given pursuant to subsection (A) of this section shall remain in effect for the premises until a full 12-month period has elapsed during which there have been no loud or unruly gatherings at those premises.

(C)    Charges for special enforcement costs shall be computed and a bill submitted to the responsible person(s). The sheriff shall promulgate notice and billing procedures for this purpose. The bill shall be a debt owed to the County and failure to pay that bill within 30 days is a violation of this code. If the County is obliged to initiate litigation or other proceedings to recover this debt, the responsible person shall be liable for costs of suit, attorney’s fees, and costs of collection. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.040 Consumption of alcohol by an underage person in a public place, place open to public, or place not open to public.

Except as permitted by State law, it is unlawful for any underage person to:

(A)    Drink or consume at any public place or any place open to the public any alcoholic beverage; or

(B)    Drink or consume at any place not open to the public any alcoholic beverage, unless in connection with the consumption of the alcoholic beverage that underage person is being supervised by his or her parent or legal guardian.

(C)    A violation of this section shall constitute an infraction. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.050 Hosting, permitting, or allowing a gathering where an underage person consumes an alcoholic beverage.

(A)    It is the duty of any person having control of any private residence or premises, who knowingly hosts, permits, or allows a gathering at said residence or premises to take all reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by any underage person at the gathering. Reasonable steps shall include, but not be limited to:

(1)    Controlling access to alcoholic beverages at the gathering to ensure that underage persons are not served;

(2)    Controlling the quantity of alcoholic beverages present at the gathering;

(3)    Verifying the age of persons attending the gathering by inspecting drivers licenses or other government-issued identification cards; and

(4)    Supervising the activities of underage persons at the gathering.

(B)    No person who owns or controls a private residence or premises shall allow a gathering to take place or continue where two or more underage persons are present and where the person knows or reasonably should know that at least one underage person has obtained, possesses, or is consuming alcoholic beverages at the gathering.

(C)    Whenever a person having control of the residence or premises is present at that residence or premises at the time that the underage person obtains, possesses, or consumes any alcoholic beverage, it shall be prima facie evidence that such person had the knowledge or should have had the knowledge, that the underage person obtained, possessed, or consumed an alcoholic beverage at the gathering.

(D)    This section shall not apply to:

(1)    Conduct involving the use of alcoholic beverages that occurs exclusively between an underage person and his or her parent or legal guardian;

(2)    Conduct permitted by Article 1, Section 4, of the California Constitution; or

(3)    Any location or place regulated by the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control.

(E)    A violation of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor. Each response to the same residence or premises on the same date shall constitute a separate violation of this section.

(F)    A person found in violation of this section shall be liable for the cost of providing special enforcement services in response to a gathering in which an underage person has obtained, possessed, or consumed an alcoholic beverage. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.060 Reservation of legal options.

(A)    The County of Santa Cruz does not waive its right to seek reimbursement for actual costs of services associated with the enforcement of this chapter through other legal remedies or procedures.

(B)    The procedure provided for in this chapter is in addition to any other statute, ordinance or law, civil or criminal. This chapter in no way limits the authority of peace officers or private citizens to make arrests for any criminal offense arising out of conduct regulated by this chapter, nor does it limit in any way the prosecution’s ability to initiate and prosecute a criminal prosecution for any violation of a criminal offense arising out of the same circumstances necessitating the application of this chapter. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].

8.32.070 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase or word of this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. The Board of Supervisors declares that it would have passed and adopted the ordinance codified in this chapter and each and all provisions thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more of said provisions be declared unconstitutional. [Ord. 5016 § 3, 2008].