The Coast News Group

Sheriff’s Department enforces Social Host Code

SAN MARCOS — Three Sheriff patrol units were designated for party patrol as local high school graduations and parties begin. 

The deputies assigned to this patrol are working to ensure that minors are not drinking alcohol.

The extra patrol units were prepared to respond to calls from residents about nearby parties.

“During these calls we will assess to see if there is any underage drinking and hold the partygoer responsible,” said Deputy Martha Hernandez, of the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station, COPPS (Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving) division.

The party host needs to be responsible and be sure that the partygoers that are drinking are at least the legal drinking age of 21.

Both the city and county have ordinances known as the “Social Host Code,” and a person who allows a minor to drink alcohol on private property can be arrested for suspicion of violating that law and charged with a misdemeanor.

Hernandez said that anyone who is arrested for violating the social host code will be processed and booked into the Vista jail, and that the San Marcos Sheriff’s Department has a zero tolerance for underage drinking.

Recently, two sisters were arrested for hosting a house party at the 200 block of West La Cienega Road. Deputies responded to a complaint for noise at that location on June 3 at 12:35 a.m.

Kylie Lauren Falk, 20, and Kelsie Dawn Falk, 18, were both arrested and cited for violating the social host ordinance, according to deputies.

The parents of the girls were said to be out of town.

Although neither sister is yet of legal drinking age, a social host does not have to be 21 to be in violation of the municipal code.

The roadway leading to the house was packed with cars and the responding deputies said there were so many vehicles in front of the house that emergency access to the house was prevented.

They said there were partygoers in the driveway and all throughout the house, and numerous amounts of beer and liquor bottles, along with marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia were also found.

An estimated 100 teenagers were at the party, and at least one teenager was found passed out inside of a car, according to authorities.

Additional deputies were called out to help shut down the party and instruct the teenagers to get rides home.

Some of the serious consequences for violating the social host code include a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense, which can double for the second offense and also include up to 32 hours of community service or jail time up to six months.

A violator can also be held responsible for any injuries that occurred by a third-party minor due to the host’s negligence.

A social host may also have to pay the cost of law enforcement services that were used.