• Things to Consider Before Hosting a Party

    Your Lease and Landlord:

    • Check your lease. What does it say regarding parties? It is possible that your landlord prohibits parties.

    • If you host a party in violation of your lease, you could be evicted.

    • If the police receive a complaint from your neighbors, they will most likely pay you a visit. Your landlord may be notified by the police and may take action against you. This can happen even if the police do not issue a citation.

    Criminal Penalties

    Noisy Assembly:

    • A noisy assembly is defined as a gathering including more than one individual in a residential area which causes significant disturbance or discomfort to the reasonable person between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

    • Social gatherings which could be cause for complaint are regulated by most cities, including St. Paul and Minneapolis.

    • There are city ordinances to do not allow individuals to participate, visit, permit, or remain at a noisy gathering.

    • Keep in mind that under the definition, you can receive a violation whether you have a couple of friends over or invite 100 people to a party. Also, you can be given a violation whether or not you are the host and whether or not there is alcohol present.

    • This violation is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and could result in 90 days in jail.

    Disorderly Conduct:

    • Disorderly conduct is defined as engaging in conduct that is likely to alarm, anger, or disturb the peace.

    • Some included offenses include: fighting, engaging in offensive, obscene, or abusive language or in boisterous and noisy conduct that may cause alarm, anger, or resentment in others.

    • This violation is misdemeanor and can result in payment of a fine up to $1000 and or 90 days in jail.

    • Keep in mind that police often charge individuals with disorderly conduct when they believe they are not cooperating.

    Alcohol—Underage Consumption, Purchasing or Possession


    • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.

    False Identification:

    • It is illegal for someone to present false identification or to give a false name to a police officer who is acting within his/her duties.

    • It is illegal to present false identification in order to purchase alcohol.


    • It is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to buy or attempt to buy any alcoholic beverage.


    • It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess alcohol with the intent to consume it.

    Any violations of the above can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $1000 and or 90 days in jail. 

    Furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21:

    • Anyone who buys or furnishes alcohol for a person under the age of 21 can be charged with a gross misdemeanor and a fine of up to $3000 and or one year in jail.

    Driving While Intoxicated:

    • It is illegal to drive, operate, or be in control of a motorized vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or with an alcohol concentration of above .08%.

    • It is also a crime to refuse a chemical test if you are stopped by the police and suspected of being under the influence of one of the above. Refusal results in the loss of your driver’s license for 1 year.

    • Test results of blood alcohol concentrations over .08% will result in the loss of your driver’s license for 90 days. Driving while intoxicated is considered a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $1000 and or 90 days in jail.

    Zero Tolerance:

    • It is illegal for anyone under age 21 to drive, operate, or be in control of a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. The first violation of the law will result in the loss of a driver’s license for 30 days and the second will result in the loss of the license for 180 days. This violation will become a PERMANENT part of the individual’s driving record.

    Civil Action—Social Host Liability:

    • If you are 21 or older and you furnish, sell, give, or purchase alcohol for someone who is under 21, there may also be civil legal consequences for your actions. If, as the result of the consumption of alcohol results in that individual injuring or harming an innocent third party, a civil lawsuit may be brought against you.

    A Few Words of Wisdom:

    • If, after understanding all of your responsibilities, you still want to host a party, there are a few precautions you should take to be sure you are creating a safe situation.

    Before the Party:

    • Be sure to plan in advance for the occasion.

    • Limit the number of guests and be firm about whether your guests are allowed to bring additional people.

    • Think about the impact your event will have on your neighbors. You should always inform them of your party and ask them to give you a call first if they have any problems.

    During the Party:

    • Be sure you have your phone within hearing distance from you at all times throughout the problems. If your neighbors call to complain, be sure you are available to speak with them so you can resolve the matter before the authorities are involved.

    • Try to keep the party inside.

    • Go outside periodically to assess the noise level. If you do this, you’ll know if you are bothering your neighbors.

    • Control where your guests park their vehicles. Don’t allow them to block driveways or park on the lawn.

    • Make sure your guests do not use your lawn as a restroom.

    What to Serve:

    • Make sure you have water, juice, and soda available to your guests. It is important to have non-alcoholic options.

    • Label your beverages.

    • Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before your party ends.

    • Serve foods that aren’t overly salty. This will promote thirst and your guests may want to drink more than normal.

    • Be respectful of the guests who choose not to drink alcohol.

    • Do not promote excessive drinking. Drinking games are sure to cause your guests to overindulge.

    • Designate someone you have great trust in to be a bartender. He or she can be active in preventing guests from drinking more than they should.

    Be Responsible:

    • Make sure drinking is NOT the focal point of your gathering.

    • NEVER serve anyone alcohol unless you know they are 21 or older.

    • It is your responsibility to prevent excessive drinking.

    • Have emergency phone numbers available and be in charge of making crucial decisions. If you feel someone has had too much to drink or is in danger of be hurt or hurting someone else, you MUST call the proper authorities or emergency medical persons.

    • Have many numbers for taxi companies available.

    • Be sure you have designated drivers available at the party.

    • You decided to have a party. It is now your responsibility to stop your guests from driving home under the influence. If you feel someone should not drive home. Don’t let him or her. Take car keys or call the appropriate authorities.

    • Plan ahead for overnight guests.

    • Be sure no one leaves your party with an open container of alcohol.

    A Visit from the Police:

    • Be sure to cooperate.

    • Take the visit seriously.

    • Be truthful when answering questions.

    • Remember that it is your right to refuse to allow police officers to enter your living space unless they have a search warrant.

    • Be aware that most officers will enter forcibly if they have reason to believe that illegal activity is occurring.

    • In the event you are ticketed or arrested, do not argue or resist the arrest.

    • If you are faced with a legal issue, be sure to contact an attorney as soon as you can.

    After the Party:

    • Clean up as much litter as possible outside and inside.

    • Call your neighbors to thank them for cooperating.

    The information above has been gathered with permission from, “Student Legal Services Tenant Resource Guide”, a resource produced by University Student Legal Services at the University of Minnesota.   None of the above information should be substituted for legal advice. You should always consult an attorney on legal matters.