Parties

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 are some of the things that can go wrong at parties and the consequences are not pleasant.  

Navigate this page

Avoiding Gatecrashers

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:

  • calling them on 13 14 44;
  • going to your local police station; or
  • logging onto the NSW police website (if it is more than 72 hours before the event).

Remember to tell the police if the party gets postponed, relocated or cancelled.

Alcohol

If you’re having your party at licensed premises, such as a pub or a club, staff will not be able to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 nor can anyone buy it for them. It is illegal to buy or try to buy from a licensed premises if you are under 18. It is also important to remember that in some areas, such as the bar, it is illegal for someone under 18 to even be there and in other areas they may need to be with a responsible adult.  It is also illegal for someone under the age of 18 to consume alcohol:

  • at an unlicensed restaurant (unless you are with your parent/guardian); or
  • in a public place (unless you have a reasonable excuse or you are accompanied by a parent or guardian).

Although there are no laws that make it a crime to drink alcohol in a private home, if your guests are under 18, you can’t serve them alcohol unless you have permission from their parents. If you provide alcohol to anyone under 18 you might have to pay up to $11,000 and/or 12 months prison in aggravated circumstances (if alcohol is given to young children or there is a large amount of alcohol involved).

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).

Drink Spiking

In NSW it is against the law to cause another person to eat or drink a beverage or food that has an intoxicating substance (such as alcohol or drugs). If you do so you are guilty of a crime. It is also illegal if you add more alcohol to someone else’s drink than they would expect to be in there, for example giving someone a double shot when they ask for a single. It doesn’t matter if this was just a joke or a prank. That means if you spike another person’s drink you could face imprisonment for up to 2 years, a fine of $1,100 or both.  Check out the Kids Helpline Safe Partying page for some great advice on managing alcohol.  

Drugs

It is illegal to have drugs at your house or on your body (e.g. in your pocket) and if you are caught you will be charged with possession. If you are found to have drugs in your possession, you could face a fine of up to $2,200 or even prison. However, if someone else brings drugs into your home without your knowledge and they aren’t in your 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.  

Sexual Assault

It is always 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. Sometimes, parties can get out of control and 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.

Medical Emergencies

It is important that if someone gets hurt or drinks too much and it is an emergency you call an ambulance on 000.

When the ambulance arrives, you should tell them all the details about the injury or possible overdose including:

  • how much the person has drank;
  • what substances have been taken.

The ambulance officers will not call the police unless:

  • the ambulance officers feel threatened by violence;
  • someone dies; or
  • you specifically ask that the police be called.

In the case of a drug overdose, and you don’t know whether the amount taken was damaging, you can also 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, so even if the person appears to be all right, get help and advice.

Noise Regulation

It is against the law to make ‘offensive noise’ in NSW. Offensive noise is noise that either because of its level or type affects the comfort of a person outside the premises.The most common complaint from neighbours is the level of noise at parties. The best way to avoid complaints from your neighbours is to give them some warning of your party. Leave them a note or tell them in person. In NSW, there are restrictions for the use of musical instruments and sound systems, which are common at parties. The restricted times are:

  • Sunday to Thursday 10pm to 8am; and
  • Friday, Saturday and days followed by a public holiday: 12 am to 8am.

This means that during these times the volume must be low enough not to be heard in your neighbour’s house. If the police are called regarding ‘offensive noise’ from your house, they may issue a noise abatement direction. This will require you to stop the making the noise or allowing that level of noise to occur. If you continue to make or allow ‘offensive noise’ you can be fined up to $3, 300.

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 set aside. If your guest is injured, they may be able to sue either you or your parents/guardian for negligence.

Emergency Contact list

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;
  • local taxi;
  • Poisons Information Centre 131 126;
  • local hospital;
  • a responsible person’s number.

For more tips on party planning visit:

Got a question you
 can’t get answered?

If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.

Get help now

Select Your State or Territory

The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.