Amherst social host law aims to crack down on underage drinking parties

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)- A relatively new law in the Town of Amherst aims to crack down on overly loud parties, specifically those involving underage drinking.

The Social Host Law is a civil ordinance officially put into effect this spring. It not only allows fines for the host(s) of the parties, but also requires them to take a six hour alcohol education class.

The ordinance holds minors accountable, but also parents who aren’t home or allow the parties to go on.

If a party becomes too loud that police are called, the host may be fined 250 dollars for the first offense, 500 dollars for the second offense, and 1,000  dollars for the third offense within a 12-month period; this is in addition to any criminal charges police could bring.

Amherst Town Attorney Stanley Sliwa said the Amherst Task Force, a part of the Youth and Recreation division of town management, wanted to make sure the measure didn’t stop at a fine.

The alcohol education class is something the state of New York currently doesn’t mandate in these situations.

“The impetus here was to make sure it was mandated. The task force believes that education is the key,” Sliwa said.

“There’s been concerns expressed regarding specifically problems the City of Buffalo had in UB District with out of control parties, and given the intensity of student housing in certain areas in the Town of Amherst, it was felt that there needed to be a very concerted effort toward addressing those concerns.”

The Social Host Law may also be applied to parties where drug-use is involved.

According to Sliwa, the measure received strong support from Amherst’s law reinforcement community.

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