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Large Parties



A guide to frequent party problems
and suggested solutions

Whether it is a graduation, prom or holiday gathering, a party can be a fun way to mark a special occasion. It is important to know the laws that affect party givers, because you are 100% responsible for what your guests do, whether they are invited guests or not, and whether the party is held at your home or not. Under certain conditions, you are even responsible for what they do after they leave your party. Please take a moment to read the following important guide.

Invitations:  In order to have a realistic amount of people at your party, invite only a specific number of people. An open invitation posted in a school or other public place is an invitation to unwanted problems. Invite your neighbors. If they decide to come, chances are they won't be disturbed by the party. And even if they don't come, they may be a little more inclined to tolerate any inconveniences.

Parking: One of the most common complaints, and often the first police receive about parties, concerns parking. Before you even send out your invitations, it is a good idea to discuss your party with your neighbors. You will find that a little common courtesy goes a long way. If they have been made aware of the crowd, they will be less likely to call the police.

Remember that it is unlawful to block a driveway, to park within fifteen feet of a fire hydrant or to park within twenty feet of an intersection. It is also illegal to park in a manner other than parallel to the right curb. Where there are no curbs, vehicles must be parked fully off the roadway, but always on the right.

So that everyone knows where to park, include pertinent parking information in your party invitation, and ask your neighbors to notify you by phone if they see a vehicle illegally parked.

Alcohol: If you are planning to serve alcoholic beverages at your party, you need to be aware of some important laws. In most of the United States, it is illegal for anyone under the age of twenty-one to possess alcohol, or for an adult to permit its possession or consumption by anyone underage even if they are in the same family.

Many people think that inside your own home you can ignore the minimum age requirement for consuming alcohol, but this is not true. For example a father can not give a 19 year old son alcohol inside the home or out. If you are caught, you can both be fined and/or go to jail.

In nearly all of the United States you may not charge to enter a party or sell alcohol without a permit from the state.

If you allow an intoxicated person to drive home from a party, or anyplace that serves alcohol including a party at school, at a bar, you are 100% responsible for everything and anything that happens to your intoxicated guest, as well as anything they make happen to another person or property. You could go to jail if they injure another person or die themselves in a crash on the way home. You could go to jail for a very long time. Just don't do it - do not allow anyone who appears intoxicated or anyone you suspect of being intoxicated to drive themselves anywhere.

Noise: If you intend to have music at your party, don't forget the noise ordinance. If people can hear it beyond the limits of your property, chances are that it is too loud. If you are going to have a band, outdoor music or other loud entertainment, advise your neighbors at the time the noise will end, and keep your promise. You may need a permit for an outdoor band in your area. Call your local police way before your party to see if you can even have a band. Reasonable limits on the volume and duration of the noise will minimize the likelihood of a complaint. Remember, one person's music is another's noise.

Most noise complaints will result in a warning by police for the first violation. If officers must respond to another complaint at the same party, arrests could result. Your best bet is immediate and continued compliance when a noise complaint comes your way.

Litter: As you plan your party, keep in mind that all parties have at least one thing in common - they tend to generate a lot of trash. Make sure when your party is over that there is a clean up crew standing ready.

Precautions: As a party host you are responsible for the behavior of your guests. Take some precautions to insure that your own property, as well as that of others in your community, is neither stolen nor damaged.

Hide money, jewelry, guns and other valuables in a safe place and do not let people wander into unoccupied areas of your home. Beware of party crashers - unwanted guests who are attracted to all the activity. If someone attending your party does not belong there, ask him or her to leave. If they will not, call the police.

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