Have you ever been to a party that’s gotten out of hand? Everyone is having a good time and suddenly the police arrive to state that the noise level is just too high.
In situations like these, police will often make contact with the owner of the house and inform them that the noise level needs to go down or issue the owner a citation. When police have to issue that citation, no one is really that much worse off. Besides, if a person hosts a party that gets too loud, they should be the ones to suffer the consequences, right?
Not so, says a new city ordinance that is being proposed by the Orange City Council. The broad language of the ordinance extends potential liability not just to the host of the party, but to the actual guests as well. Is this potential Orange ordinance unfair?
More Than Just a Buzz-Kill
Originally, the bill proposed by Orange County Republican Fred Whitaker only targeted the hosts of “a party at which there is loud and unruly conduct and/or to permit underage drinking.”1 Revisions to the bill have severely broadened its scope. Now, the language of the ordinance allows for a violation to be issued to any person “present at, attend[ing] or participat[ing]” in that party in Orange.
That means that guests can be in violation of the ordinance even if they are not acting irresponsibly or adding to the noise level. In fact, under the broad language, a person who was simply present when the police arrived but who might not have even been an actual guest could also be in violation of the ordinance. Continue reading →