New Hampshire’s Party Host Liability Law
Law enforcement in NH takes underage drinking seriously. In 2004, the NH legislature passed a law to hold hosts of parties responsible for the actions of underage participants. This law can be applied to any adult.
What is considered a “host” under this law?
- A person who is (at least) 17 years old
- A person who owns, rents, or has control of the site
- A person who knows about the party
- A person who knows that persons under the age of 21 have a plan to drink alcohol or use drugs
What is considered a “party” under this law?
- Five or more people under the age of 21 (not related to the host) are present
- At least one person under the age of 21 has an alcoholic drink or an illegal drug
What can happen to “hosts” under this law?
- A person who hosts a party where minors drink alcohol or use drugs may be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $2,000 and spend a year in jail
What can happen to someone under the age of 21 who has an alcoholic drink?
- They may lose their license, vehicle or college scholarship
- They may be fined up to $600, if caught with a false ID up to $2,000, and/or a prison sentence
How do I stay safe under this law?
People whose properties may be the site of underage drinking or drug parties should:
- Take action to prevent the party
- Try to stop the party, if it has already started
- Tell local law enforcement officials as soon as possible
Are there any exceptions under law?
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the use of alcoholic beverages at legally protected religious observances or activities, or those persons using a controlled drug under a physician’s care where the use of the drug is consistent with the directions of a physician.
- Call 211 to report an underage drinking party
- Party Host Liability Law
- New Hampshire’s Party Host Liability Law brochure, download, call or email for copies to share with your community.