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The City of Big Rapids and the State of Michigan have several ordinances and laws that apply to parties. By being aware of these rules and following them, you can insure that while having a good time, you stay out of trouble. The most important law to be aware of is the State Law governing alcohol sales. This law makes it a Felony to sell alcohol without a license.

The only legal way you can have alcohol at your party is to provide it to your guests at no charge or let them bring their own and not charge them for attending. You should also be aware that if you provide alcohol to your guests you may be liable if they become intoxicated and are later injured or involved in an accident. It is a misdemeanor to provide alcohol to persons under the age of 21 or to allow them to drink alcohol on your premises.

The City has three ordinances that are primarily aimed at house parties:

The best way to stay out of this situation is to keep the number of people attending your party manageable and if you see any of your guests behaving inappropriately let them know. If necessary, ask them to leave. Should the police be called to your party, you can make the situation a lot easier for everyone if you follow these guidelines:

If you have any questions feel free to contact the big Rapids Department of Public Safety at (231)527-0005 or a general contact on this page


A social gathering or party conducted on any premises within the City and which, by reason of the conduct of those persons in attendance, results in any one or more of the following conditions or events occurring on the premises or neighboring public or private property:

(1) The unlawful sale, furnishing,
possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages;

(2) Urination or defecation on neighboring public or private property, or on the premises in view of another person;

(3) Unlawful deposit of trash or litter;

(4) Destruction of property;

(5) Unlawful vehicular traffic, or the unlawful standing or parking of vehicles which obstructs the free flow of traffic or interferes with the ability to render emergency services;

(6) Unlawful parking of vehicles within the public streets, alleys, or sidewalks, or upon private property;

(7) Excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise which disturbs the comfort, quiet or repose of one or more members of the neighborhood, including public disturbances, brawls, fights or quarrels;

(8) Conduct or a condition which injures any person;

(9) Conduct or a condition which endangers the safety of persons or property in the neighborhood;

(10) Conduct or a condition which results in the indecent exposure of a person, or the display of graphic sexual behavior, whether real or simulated, to a member of the public not attending the social gathering or party;

(11) Unlawful sale, furnishing, manufacture, use, or possession of a controlled substance as defined by federal or state law.
('88 Code, Title IX, Ch. 109, § 9.60) (Ord. 210-8-85, passed 8-19-85; Am. Ord. 436-8-98, passed 8-3-98) §


Any owner, occupant, tenant, guests or person otherwise having any possessory control, individually or jointly , of any premises who either sponsors, conducts, hosts, invites, or permits a social gathering or party which is or during the course thereof becomes a nuisance party which is either the intentional result of or within the reasonable expectations of the person or persons having such possessory control is hereby deemed to have committed a violation of this code, and upon conviction shall be subject to the penalties as provided by § 130.99. In any prosecution for aviolation of this section or the section prohibiting persons from attending nuisance parties, proof of specific intent shall not be required as a necessary element, but proof of general criminal intent shall be a necessary element. The penalty for a subsequent violaiton of this section is set forth in § 130.99. ('88 Code, Title IX, Ch. 109, § 9.61) (Ord. 210-8-85, passed 8-19-85; Am. Ord. 436-8-98, passed 8-3-98) Penalty, see § 130.99 Cross-reference: Breach of peace offenses, see § 130.04 § 130.17


Any person knowingly in attendance at a nuisance party as defined by § 130.15, whether or not such person has any possessory control over the premises, shall be deemed to have committed a violation of this section and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in § 130.99(B). "Knowingly" shall require as an element of proof that the person knew or had clear reason to know of the actual existence of one or more of the conditions or events listed in the definition of a nuisance party. (Ord. 322-4-93, passed 4-19-93; Am. Ord. 436-8-98, passed 8-3-98) Penalty, see § 130.99