Illinois Social Host Law

Illinois Social Host Law - 235 ILCS 5/6-16(c)

Effective January 1, 2013, Illinois law now states that individuals can be arrested and face criminal charges for simply allowing or permitting individuals under the age of 21 to drink alcohol at their residence or on their property – even if the individual did not directly supply or provide the underage person with alcohol Therefore, students who host social events (whether on or off campus) are expected to monitor their parties and make sure that underage people are not drinking in their residence, room, or property.  (This law applies to students who own or rent/lease their residence.)

Consequences for Violations

Individuals who violate this law:

  • Can be arrested and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor.
  • Face fines of at least $500.
  • Can be charged with a Class 4 Felony if the violation directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person.  Under Illinois law, penalties for a Class 4 Felony may include:
    • Incarceration for 1-3 years
    • Fines of up to $25,000

"Safe Harbor" Provision

The new law contains a "safe harbor" (or amnesty) provision that protects individuals who host social events from criminal liability if:

  1. The party host requests assistance from the police to either:
    • Remove any person who refuses to abide by the party host’s demand to stop drinking, or 
    • Terminate the gathering, because the party host has been unable to prevent persons under the age of 21 years from consuming alcohol, despite having taken all reasonable steps to do so; AND
  2. The party host contacts the police for help before any other person makes a formal complaint to law enforcement.

Thus, students are strongly encouraged to contact the police immediately if they are unable to control guests at their party or if guests refuse to comply with the host's attempts to prevent underage drinking.

Full Text of the Law