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Talk Early, Talk Often: Social Host Ordinance (SHO)

Oftentimes we get asked - What is a Social Host Ordinance? What isn't it? Why is it important?

Listen in as Sheriff Brott of Sherburne County and the Chiefs of Police, Chief Nierenhausen of Elk River Police Department, Chief Baloun of Becker Police Department, and Chief Scharf of Big Lake Police Department answer these important questions!

Understanding a Social Host Ordinance:

A SHO holds individuals (social hosts) criminally responsible for hosting or allowing an event on private or public property where persons under age 21 possess or consume alcohol, regardless of who supplies the alcohol to the minors.

This ordinance applies to situations in which:

  • The social host knows or reasonably should know that alcohol is being possessed or consumed by underage persons at their residence or premises or at any event they are hosting on public or private property.

  • The social host fails to take reasonable steps to prevent possession or consumption by underage persons.

Violation of the ordinance will be a misdemeanor subject to a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

What a Social Host Ordinance IS NOT:

  • Individuals cannot be charged if they did not know about an underage drinking party.

  • Parents cannot be charged for allowing or permitting alcohol use by their own child while present in their own household.

  • This does not apply to legally protected religious observations.

  • Individuals cannot be charged if they take steps to prevent the underage drinking once they realize it is occurring.

A look at the Numbers…

  • All cities in Sherburne County have a SHO, in addition to a county-wide ordinance.

  • Over 120 towns and cities in MN have already adopted SHOs.

  • 30 counties in MN have adopted a SHO.

  • 41% of Sherburne County students who reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days said they obtained the alcohol from parties. 1

  • 32 SHO violations occurred between 2012-2016.* 2

  • 48% of adults in Sherburne County reported that adults allowing or tolerating youth alcohol use is a 'moderate' or 'serious' problem. 3


1 Based on the 2013 MN Student Survey data for Sherburne County grades 8,9, & 11

2 Local law enforcement data from BPD, BLPD, ERPD, & SCSO. *Data as of: 09/2016

3 Based on 2013 Central MN Community Health Survey

Interested in sharing this information? Click here for our SHO flyer.

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