ORDINANCE NO. 185,
ORDINANCE NO. 185,
SOCIAL HOST ORDINANCE
This ordinance prohibits, and establishes
penalties for, any person hosting an event or
gathering where alcohol is present and pos-
sessed or consumed by persons under twen-
ty-one (21) years of age.
Be it enacted by the Wadena City Council,
Subd. 1. Purpose and Findings. The Wad-
ena City Council intends to discourage un-
derage possession and consumption of alco-
hol, even if done within the confines of a pri-
vate residence, and intends to hold persons
criminally responsible who host events or
gatherings where persons under 21 years of
age possess or consume alcohol regardless
of whether the person hosting the event or
gathering supplied the alcohol. The Wadena
City Council finds that:
(a) Events and gatherings held on private
or public property where alcohol is pos-
sessed or consumed by persons under the
age of twenty-one are harmful to those per-
sons and constitute a potential threat to
public health requiring prevention or abate-
(b) Prohibiting underage consumption acts
to protect underage persons, as well as the
general public, from injuries related to alco-
hol consumption, such as alcohol overdose
or alcohol-related traffic collisions.
(c) Alcohol is an addictive drug which, if
used irresponsibly, could have drastic effects
on those who use it as well as those who are
affected by the actions of an irresponsible
(d) Often, events or gatherings involving
underage possession and consumption oc-
cur outside the presence of parents. Howev-
er, there are times when the parent is
present and, condones the activity, and in
some circumstances provides the alcohol.
(e) Even though giving or furnishing alco-
hol to an underage person is a crime, it is dif-
ficult to prove, and an ordinance is neces-
sary to help further combat underage con-
(f) A deterrent effect will be created by
holding a person criminally responsible for
hosting an event or gathering where under-
age possession or consumption occurs.
(g) There are times when a legal adult or
responsible party is under 21 and is/are
present, and condone the activity and in
some circumstances provide the alcohol.
Subd. 2. Authority. This ordinance is en-
acted pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 412.221 sub-
Subd. 3. Definitions. For purposes of this
ordinance, the following terms have the fol-
(a) Alcohol. "Alcohol" means ethyl alcohol,
hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine,
whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, or any other dis-
tilled spirits including dilutions and mixtures
thereof from whatever source or by whatever
(b) Alcoholic beverage. "Alcohol beverage"
means alcohol, spirits, liquor, wine, beer,
and every liquid or solid containing alcohol,
spirits, wine, or beer, and which contains
one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by
volume, and which is fit for beverage purpos-
es either alone or when diluted, mixed, or
combined with other substances.
(c) Event or gathering. "Event or gather-
ing" means any group of three or more per-
sons who have assembled or gathered to-
gether for a social occasion or other activity.
(d) Host. "Host" means to aid, conduct, al-
low, entertain, organize, supervise, control,
or permit a gathering or event.
(e) Parent. "Parent" means any person
having legal custody of a juvenile. a. As nat-
ural, adoptive parent, or step-parent.
b. As a legal guardian, or c. As a person to
whom legal custody has been given by order
of the court.
(f) Person. "Person" means any individual,
partnership, co-partnership, corporation, or
any association of one or more individuals.
(g) Residence or Premises. "Residence" or
"premises" means any home, yard, field,
land, apartment, condominium, hotel or mo-
tel room, or other dwelling unit, or a hall or
meeting room, park, or any other place of as-
sembly, public or private, whether occupied
on a temporary or permanent basis whether
occupied as a dwelling or specifically for a
party or other social function, and whether
owned, leased, rented, or used with or with-
out permission or compensation.
(h) Underage Person. "Underage person"
is any individual under twenty-one (21) years
Subd. 4. Prohibited Acts.
(a) It is unlawful for any person(s) to:
(1) Host or allow an event or gathering;
(2) At any residence, premises, or on any
other private or public property;
(3) Where alcohol or alcoholic beverages
(4) When the person knows or reasonably
should know that an underage person will or
(i) Consume any alcohol or alcoholic bev-
(ii) Possess any alcohol or alcoholic bever-
age with the intent to consume it; and
(iii) The person fails to take reasonable
steps to prevent possession or consumption
by the underage person(s).
(b) A person is criminally responsible for
violating Subdivision 4(a) above if the person
intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels,
or conspires with or otherwise procures an-
other to commit the prohibited act.
(c) A person who hosts an event or gather-
ing does not have to be present at the event
or gathering to be criminally responsible.
Subd. 5. Exceptions.
(a) This ordinance does not apply to con-
duct solely between an underage person and
his or her parents while present in the par-
(b) This ordinance does not apply to legal-
ly protected religious observances.
(c) This ordinance does not apply to retail
intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor
licenses, municipal liquor stores, or bottle
club permit holders who are regulated by
Minn. Stat. §340A.503 Subd. l(a) (1).
(d) This ordinance does not apply to situa-
tions where underage persons are lawfully in
possession of alcohol or alcoholic beverages
during the course and scope of employment.
(e) This chapter does not apply to enforce-
ment activities supervised by a law enforce-
Subd. 6. Enforcement. This ordinance can
be enforced by any licensed police officer in
the City of Wadena.
Subd. 7. Severability. If any section, sub-
section, sentence, clause, phrase, word, or
other portion of this ordinance is, for any rea-
son, held to be unconstitutional or invalid, in
whole, or in part, by any court or competent
jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed
severable, and such unconstitutionality or in-
validity shall not affect the validity of the re-
maining portions of this law, which remaining
portions shall continue in full force and ef-
Subd. 8. Penalty. Violation of Subdivision
4 is a misdemeanor.
Subd. 9. Effective Date. This ordinance
shall take effect thirty (30) days following its
final passage and adoption.
ADOPTED by the City Council of the City
of Wadena, Minnesota on the 13th day of
September, 2011, by the following vote:
YES: Wolden, Baymler, Pierce, Niles,
Wayne Wolden, Mayor
Bradley A. Swenson, City Administrator