Parties are lots of fun. Meeting up and hanging out with friends can be a great way to spend a weekend. But things do not always go to the way we expect them to. Uninvited guests, people getting drunk, and property damage may are some of the things that may go wrong occur at parties and the consequences aren’t fun. If you are hosting a party there are a number of things you might want to think about beforehand, including:
The following information applies to Western Australia. If you are from a different state, make sure you select the correct state under the link 'change state' on the banner above. If you want more information or legal advice about throwing parties and your rights and responsibilities, please send us a Lawmail.
Once you decide to have a party, a good idea is to make a guest list and stick to it. Having people you don’t know turn up to a party can cause a good time to get out of control. There are a few ways you can make sure you and your friends don’t have to worry about people you didn’t invite ruining your night:
- Have a single entry point;
- No pass-outs;
- Ask an adult to act as a security guard;
- Avoid inviting people online. However if you want to invite people on Facebook or email make sure the list is controlled by you and private.
It is a good idea to register your party beforehand with the local police station. If the police are aware of your party they can:
- Help you remove gatecrashers;
- Drive by to make sure everything is ok; and
- Tell you about any complaints about noise over the phone.
You can notify the police by:
- going to your local police station or
- completing a ‘Party Registration’ online up to 28 days beforehand or;
- by calling 131 444.
Remember to tell the police if the party gets postponed, relocated or cancelled.
If you’re having your party at a licensed premised (such as a pub or a club), it is illegal for staff to sell or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. In fact, it may be illegal for them to even be there unless accompanied by a responsible adult such as their parents. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to drink alcohol or carry it on these premises and if you are caught you may be fined up to $2,000.
It is not illegal for someone under 18 to drink alcohol in a private home in Western Australia. If you are intending on serving alcohol to guests under 18, it would be a good idea to let their parent/guardians know that there will be alcohol at this party and have a responsible adult serving the alcohol as your parents/guardians can be sued for a breach of duty if something goes wrong.
If people are drinking, remind your guests it is illegal and dangerous to drink and drive. If your guests are on their “P” plates they must not have a blood alcohol reading when they drive. If anyone has their full licence, the limit is 0.05g. Generally this means you can have two standard drinks in your first hour and one every hour after that but will depend on your weight, size and alcohol tolerance. If you have guests who are planning to drink there are a number of options:
- Organise a taxi;
- Offer them a couch to sleep on;
- Organise a designated driver (someone who takes a night off from drinking to drive others home).
In Western Australia it is against the law to spike someone’s drink. Drink spiking is when people add alcohol or another substance to someone else’s drink without their knowledge. If you cause someone else to drink a drink containing alcohol or another substance that they did not expect it to contain you could face a fine of $ 12,000 and in serious cases, imprisonment for up to 3 years. Check out the Kids Helpline Safe Partying page for some great advice on managing alcohol.
It is illegal to have drugs at your house or on your body (e.g. in your pocket). If you are found to have drugs in your possession, you could be fined up to $2000 or face up to 2 years imprisonment. This will depend on the amount and type of drug you have. However, if there are drugs at your house and in someone else’s control you will not be guilty of possession. Control means you own them or have the right to use them. For more information on the penalties you could face for possessing or using drugs please check out our Drugs page.
It is a crime for anyone to threaten to hurt, touch in a sexual way without consent or force another person to take part in any sexual activity against their will. It is important to remember that regardless of whether or not people are drinking at your party, you want to make sure all your guests stay safe. At parties, lots of people may be socialising and maybe finding someone special. One way to keep each other safe is to stay together or make plans to check in with each other throughout the night. For more information regarding sexual assault please read our Sexual Assault page.
It is important that if someone gets hurt or drinks too much and it is an emergency you call an ambulance on 000.
At the ambulance’s arrival, you should tell them:
- how much the person has drunk; and
- what substances have they taken.
The ambulance officers do not have to call the police unless:
- the ambulance officers are at risk of danger;
- someone dies; or
- you request that the police attend.
In the case of a drug overdose, and you don’t know whether the amount taken was damaging, you can ring Poisons Information on 131 126, anytime and anywhere in Australia for advice. Be aware that it takes a while for the symptoms of an overdose to appear.
In Western Australia, it is against the law to create ‘unreasonable noise’. Noise which interferes with the health, welfare, convenience or comfort of your neighbours will be considered unreasonable. The most common complaint from neighbours is the level of noise at parties
If your party is judged to be creating ‘unreasonable noise’, then the police have the power to issue a noise abatement direction to stop the noise. If you fail to stop the noise after that notice has been issued, you are committing a crime.
Having a party at your house is a lot of responsibility. You take on a duty for the safety of all your guests so make sure items that can injure your guests are set aside. If your guest is injured, they may be able to sue either you or your parents/guardian for negligence. For more information, see our topic: Being Sued
Have an emergency contact list drawn up and put it in a place where it could be seen. The list should include:
- Emergency: Police, Ambulance and Fire 000
- Local Police 131 444 or 000
- Local Taxi
- Poisons Information Centre 131 126
- Local Hospital
- A responsible person’s number.
For more tips on party planning visit:
- Western Australia Police: Party Safety
- Kids Helpline: Safe Partying
Also check out our relevant topics on Lawstuff:
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This page was last updated on 24 February 2015.
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