Social Host

Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws

Social Host Ordinances, ZAP, Alcohol Server Training and Compliance Checks provide a four-pronged approach to addressing underage drinking in Rice County. Engaging law enforcement, county and city attorneys, schools and alcohol establishments, the Coalition works to maintain a legal system that does not tolerate underage drinking.

SOCIAL HOST ORDINANCES have been in effect in Freeborn County since 2009, closing the loophole on underage drinking laws. A social host ordinance makes it illegal to knowingly provide a location/environment for underage drinking. This differs from laws that make it illegal to provide alcohol to minors. The person responsible for “hosting” the party, even a juvenile, can be charged with a social host violation.

ZERO ALCOHOL PROVIDERS (ZAP) is a multi-jurisdictional response to large underage drinking parities. ZAP protocol maintains that officers will treat underage drinking parties as a crime scene – obtaining a warrant if necessary, interviewing all party goers, and collecting evidence in order to identify and charge the person(s) responsible.

The Coalition offers BEVERAGE SERVER TRAINING to alcohol license holders and their employees as a way to reduce youth access to alcohol. The training content, developed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, includes information on the risks associated with underage drinking and the legal and social consequences of selling to those under 21.

Police departments regularly conduct COMPLIANCE CHECKS at all alcohol and tobacco establishments as a way to test their sales practices. While supervised by police, an underage individual attempts to purchase tobacco or alcohol using their own I.D. or without an I.D. at all. If the employee sells to the youth, the establishment fails the check. The Coalition publicly recognizes those businesses who pass checks through local media outlets and by presenting them with a certificate of appreciation.

For more information about enforcing underage drinking laws, contact

What a Social Host Ordinance IS:

Updated July 21, 2010

  • Is different from State laws that prohibit adults from providing alcohol to minors.
  • Makes it unlawful to provide an environment where underage drinking takes place.
  • Can be successful in reducing the number of underage drinking parties.
  • Have found that it’s predominantly 22 or 23 years olds who are hosting these parties.
  • Considers a family member of the property owner who is at the event a host, regardless of their age.
  • Includes a tenant of a rented apartment, townhome, home or other dwelling, when they provide an environment where underage drinking takes place.
  • Excludes landlords and property owners while they are away from the property, provided they were unaware that illegal alcohol consumption was going to occur on their property.
  • Is a misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • A city ordinance is only enforceable within that city.
  • A county ordinance is only enforceable within the unincorporated areas of the county.

What a Social Host Ordinance ISN’T:

  • Doesn’t change any other State Laws.
  • Isn’t the same as State laws that prohibit adults from providing alcohol to minors.
  • An ordinance violation alone will not result in a property owner losing their property.
  • A city ordinance is not enforceable outside city limits, unless the county also adopts an ordinance.
  • A county ordinance is not enforceable within a city, unless the city also adopts an ordinance.
  • Doesn’t include landlords and property owners while they are away from the property, provided they were unaware that illegal alcohol consumption was going to occur on their property.
  • Parents cannot be charged under a social host ordinance if in their presence they allow their own child to consume alcohol in their residence.

Minnesota cities & counties with social host ordinances: [55]

(As of 07/21/2010)

Albert Lea, Apple Valley, Austin, Baxter, Belle Plaine, Breckenridge, Cass County, Chaska, Chisago

County, Cloquet, Cottage Grove, Crookston, Crystal, Duluth, Elko/New Market, Elk River, Fairfax,

Falcon Heights, Fergus Falls, Glencoe, Goodview, Hibbing, Isanti, Jordan, Kanabec County, Kandiyohi

Co, Kenyon, Lakeville, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Mora, Mower County, New

Prague, New Ulm, Owatonna, Otsego, Princeton, Prior Lake, Ramsey, Redwing, Rosemount, Roseville,

Savage, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Scott Co, Shakopee, South St. Paul, Waseca, West St. Paul, Wilkin Co,

Willmar, Winona.

Support for People in Recovery

Freeborn County Partners In Prevention Coalition honors and celebrates people who are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction and mental illness and disorders. As a way to reduce stigma, the Coalition participates in a number of activities that highlight the courage, strength, talent and success of people in recovery. In addition, the Coalition works in partnership with the DHS- Mental Health Services and Fountain Centers to raise awareness about how common these disorders are and that getting help is okay.

September is national Recovery Month sponsored by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) and is a time to acknowledge the reality of addiction, the power of recovery and the need to reduce stereotypes and discrimination. In honor of Recovery Month, Fountain Centers sponsors a “Recovery’s Got Talent” talent contest for people in recovery and people who support those in recovery. Competitions are held in various cities in southern Minnesota.

For more information about efforts to support people in recovery contact us.