City of Oswego passes new law to prevent underage drinking

OSWEGO, N.Y.– The Oswego Common Council unanimously approved the city’s new Social Host Law Monday night.

The law makes it illegal for “any person older than the age of 18 who owns, rents, or otherwise controls a private residence, to knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol, alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs by any minor, younger than the age of 21, on such premises or to fail to take reasonable corrective action upon learning of the consumption of alcohol, alcoholic beverages or use of illegal drugs by any minor on such premises.” This differs from the current state legislation as that only governs the actual giving or selling of alcohol to a person not yet 21 years of age.

If a person were to violate the law, he or she would be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $250. That fine doubles to $500 for a second offense. However, people who subsequently offend the law more than twice within two years of their second offense will face either a $1,000 fine, a year in jail or both.

“We want people to be able to enjoy themselves,” Oswego Deputy Police Chief Zachary Misztal said. “We want them to be able to partake in things in this city and enjoy living in this city, but they have to do that respectfully and responsibly.”

While some college students say they believe the law was targeted towards them, the purpose of the law goes deeper than only one part of the city’s population, Misztal said.

“I don’t want everybody to think that this is going to be something specific towards SUNY students”, Misztal said. “It is a law that went into effect to improve quality of life for any of the residents or the people negatively affecting that.”