Partying Without the Police
Have a good and safe time at your party, minus the hassles …
City/Town Noise Ordinances
Take time to get a handle on the complete Ithaca City Noise Ordinance. The ordinance details several definitions, provisions and penalties. Some representative language: Prohibits unreasonable noise between 10:00 pm and 7:30 am. First-time violators of the ordinance face up to a $500 fine or imprisonment of not more than 15 days, and not less than a $100 fine or 25 hours of community service. The fine may be levied against any or all residents in a house or apartment and penalties increase for repeat offenders. Apply for a City noise permit. The Town of Ithaca has a similar ordinance. It may be found at www.town.ithaca.ny.us. Type “noise ordinance” in the search field.
Open Container Law
It’s illegal to carry an open container of alcohol on City sidewalks, streets and parks. First-time violators face up to a $250 fine or imprisonment of not more than 15 days, and not less than a $100 fine or 25 hours of community service.
State Laws on House Parties
Persons under 21 are prohibited from possessing any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $50 per offense plus 30 hours of community service and the cost for completion of an alcohol awareness program.
It is a Class A misdemeanor to give an alcoholic beverage to anyone under the age of 21. Penalties for violation may result in jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1000.
No person shall sell or offer for sale any alcoholic beverage without obtaining the appropriate license. This is also a Class A misdemeanor, but in addition to the above-noted penalties, a violator may be fined two times the county's liquor license fee, totaling several thousand dollars. CIVIL LIABILITY: If someone drinks at your party and hurts someone afterward, (while drinking driving, etc.), you can be sued.
The bottom line to partying without the police:
It's your responsibility to control yourself and your guests.
Avoid overcrowding that might result in blocked exits or a porch collapse. Too many cars could block your street and fire, police or medical units in an emergency. And overcrowding can lead to "outdoor bathroom facilities," another finable offense.
If someone is incoherent or passed out and can't be roused, don't just let them sleep it off. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. Call 911 for help in this instance and in other emergencies.
Party Smart Tips
Having parties could violate your lease. Check with your landlord/lease first.
Agree on a sober party host to monitor and respond to complaints.
MAKE IT KNOWN!
Tell the neighbors and exchange Sober Host’s cell in case there is a problem.
SET HOUSE RULES!
For example, only Sober Host and house residents will let guests in & talk to police and neighbors, use one door for entrance and exit, guests will come and go peacefully, park legally, no smoking inside.
KEEP IT INSIDE!
Crowds gathering on your porch/ lawn could cause noise complaints/police attention.
DJ NO WAY!
You will pay the noise ticket and deal with the crowds they attract to your party.
UNDER 21 NO FUN!
Even if they bring their own alcohol to the party, you can be held liable for serving underage people.
Know who’s in your place, lock or hide valuables, check IDs, have a guest list.
GET THEM HOME SAFELY!
Have designated sober driver, taxis, bus and SaferRide App ready to assist.
SKIP THE GAMES!
Getting drunk fast rarely ends well.
CLEAN IT UP!
Don’t wait till daylight to clean up outside. Leave no trace.
GET MONEY BACK!
Property damage from your party will eat up your security deposit fast.
Material adapted with permission from Off Campus Student Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst