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ACBA Alerts Public To Social Host, Underage Drinking Laws Ahead Of St. Patrick's Day

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - There's no question that Pittsburghers love to celebrate on Saint Patrick's Day weekend. The annual parade is expected to draw a crowd of 200,000 people.

However, if you're hosting a party at your home to continue the celebration, you might want to check IDs at the door.

"It's against the law, first of all. Furnishing alcohol to a minor is against the law and you're facing a significant level of liability if you do something like this," Whitney Hughes of the Allegheny County Bar Association said.

Pennsylvania is one of several states with a social host and underage drinking ordinance.

If someone underage is caught drinking, it can mean jail time, big fines and lawsuits.

"For criminal liability, you can face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail," Hughes said.

The City of Pittsburgh enacted their own social host ordinance, which carries lesser penalties, but still a fine up to $500 and up to 72 hours behind bars.

Considering there are many college students and renters in the city, Hughes said landlords also have to be aware of what's going on at their properties.

"If you have reason to know what's going on and you do nothing to stop it, then theoretically you can be held liable as well," she said.

Civil suits are also a possibility if the underage drinker is injured or injures someone else.

"You need to consider the consequences. Enjoy yourself, but do it responsibly," she said.

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