Social Host Liability
Throwing a Holiday party with alcohol? In Colorado, a person who furnishes at no charge alcohol at their party is known as a "social host," and that person is not liable for any injuries suffered by anyone because of the actions of their intoxicated guests unless the social host "willfully and knowingly" supplies alcohol to a minor (someone under the age 21), and that minor injures someone else. CRS §12-47-801(4). Therefore, in Colorado, a social host who throws a party and provides alcohol to their guests cannot be sued by someone who is injured by one of their intoxicated guests, unless that guest was under 21 years of age and served willfully and knowingly by the social host.
Clearly, it is best not to furnish alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and safer for our friends, family, and our community if intoxicated guests are not allowed to drive. A taxi, Uber, or designated driver are better options than running the risk of a DUI, felony vehicular assault, or felony vehicular homicide if someone is injured or killed by an intoxicated guest. Colorado law at CRS §12-47-801(4) protects people who provide alcohol at their parties from liability for all injuries to those guests, or for injuries those guests may cause after they leave the party, unless the alcohol was provided "willfully and knowingly" to someone under 21 years of age. There is a 1 year statute of limitations for social host liability. There is also a 1 year statute of limitations for people, restaurants, bars or other vendors who sell alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, or under 21 years of age. This is known in Colorado as a "Dram Shop" action.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes for the new year. Please protect your family, friends and our community by making sure no one drinks to an excess and drives.