Proposed OC Ordinance to Fine Hosts for Underage Drinking Rejected


The Orange County Board of Supervisors has rejected an ordinance that would have imposed a fine of $750 for any adult host that allows underage drinking at a private residence with three or more people present. A second violation would have subjected the host to a misdemeanor charge.

Families of DUI victims teamed up with Orange County officials and law enforcement to urge the Orange County Board of Supervisors to propose the ordinance.

The proposal came at a time when holiday festivities give the adults an excuse to allow the minors to share in the toast.

Proponents of the ordinance, including Supervisor Todd Spitzer who moved to approve the ordinance, however, point to the fact that in 2010, 941 underage Orange County drivers were convicted of driving under the influence. Additionally in 2010, 150 were killed in collisions involving underage drunk drivers.

That wasn’t enough to convince the other four out of the five Orange County Supervisors, who cited concerns about overreach into the privacy of homes. None of the other Supervisors seconded Sptizer’s motion to approve the ordinance, which prevented it from going to a formal vote.

Opponents of the ordinance argued, and I agree, that the ordinance would have raised some serious privacy and civil liberty concerns. Where is the evidence that an ordinance like this would even prevent underage DUIs? Until that can be answered, it cannot be said that the benefits of this ordinance outweigh the privacy interests of hosts.

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