Disclaimer: The material in this factsheet is a general guide only. It is not legal advice. For legal advice about your own particular situation we encourage you to call the Free Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424. The legal information was correct at the time of publishing (April 2016), however may change without notice.
The Legal Services Commission gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the NT Legal Aid Commission and National Children’s and Youth Legal Centre in allowing the Legal Services Commission of South Australia to use and adapt existing content.
In this section you will find information on:
What if there’s someone at my party and I don’t want them there anymore?
If there is someone you don’t want at your party and you ask them to leave, and they don’t leave, they will become a trespasser. If a trespasser fails to leave the party, or if they trespass again, they will be guilty of an offence.
A trespasser who uses offensive language or behaves in an offensive manner is guilty of a further offence.
It is also an offence for a trespasser to refuse to give their name and address to the occupier/organiser.
If you have a trespasser you are able to call the police to get them to help. A police officer may, if you ask them to, remove a trespasser from the premises if they reasonably suspect that the trespasser is committing one of the above offences.
See the Law Handbook on Trespass for more information.
Alcohol, Drink Spiking, and Drugs
Can we get in trouble for drinking alcohol if the party is at licensed premises?
If you’re having your party at licensed premises (such as a pub or a club), it is illegal for staff to sell or serve alcohol to someone under the age of 18. In fact it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to be on the premises after midnight.
Can we get in trouble for drinking alcohol if the party is at someone’s private home?
At a party in a private house, it is not against the law for someone under 18 to drink alcohol, regardless of whether or not their guardian is present. If you are having a party and your guests are under 18, is best to get permission from their parents before they have any alcohol. You and your parents have a responsibility to take care to ensure those at your party are safe and not harmed. Your parents would be expected to supervise the party and to prevent excessive drinking and other safety risks.
If young people are drinking and on on their “P” plates they must not have any blood alcohol reading when they drive. If anyone has their full licence, the limit is 0.05g.
What about drink spiking?
In South Australia drink spiking is against the law. This includes when people add alcohol or another substance to someone else’s drink without their knowledge. If someone spikes another person’s food or drink, by putting in a substance that will affect their behaviour without their knowledge, that person will have committed a crime. This includes if you add more alcohol to someone else’s drink than they would be expecting to be in there.
What about drugs at parties?
It is illegal to have drugs at your house or on you (for example, in your pocket). However, if there are drugs in someone else’s control at your party you will not be guilty of possession. For more information on the penalties you could face for possessing or using drugs please see our factsheet on Drugs.
If someone gets hurt or drinks too much and it is an emergency, you should call an ambulance on 000.
At the ambulance’s arrival, you should tell them:
The ambulance officers do not have to call the police unless:
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.
The most common complaint from neighbours is the level of noise at parties. In South Australia, everyone has a general duty not do anything which may pollute (including through noise) the environment and to take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise any environmental harm or nuisance to your neighbours.
This includes any noise which is likely to unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of the area by your neighbours. Your neighbours may complain at any time if they consider the noise a nuisance.
If your party is judged to be creating such noise, then the police can order an Environmental Protection Order requiring you to stop the noise. If you don’t stop the noise and there is another complaint within a 72 hour period you might be fined.
Injuries and Damage to Property
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 put away. If your guest is injured, they may be able to sue either you or your parents/guardian for negligence.