Drunk Driving in California
Drunk drivers face serious charges and that is as it should be. Vehicle damage, injury and even death can occur. Drunk drivers can face both civil and criminal charges. In some cases, however, other parties may also share in the responsibility.
California has instated dram shop laws that make it possible to hold bars, lounges and other establishments that serve alcohol partially responsible for any drunk driving accidents that occur from an inebriated person leaving their place of business.
California also employs social host laws. These laws make it possible to hold social hosts in a party or event situation responsible for drunk driving accident involving someone who became intoxicated at their event.
Only 40 states have dram shop and social host responsibility laws. While they make it possible to hold these third parties responsible to an extent, it isn’t easy to bring these cases to court. It must be proven that some action made by a bar employee had a hand in a drunk driving accident. This could be anything from serving a visibly, over-intoxicated person or allowing a person obviously over the legal limit to drive get behind the wheel.
Some people hold their liquor much better than others. Other people act drunker than they are for comedic reasons. Without performing a breathalyzer test to every patron at the bar, it is impossible to tell the exact amount of intoxication.
Because of these dram shop laws restaurants and bars have taken extra precautions. Conscientious bar owners can require their employees who serve alcohol to attend classes on responsible alcohol service. If the bar owner has used these classes in their employee training, the task of implicating them becomes even harder.
California’s dram shop laws state that bars can only be held responsible if they continue to serve alcohol to a visibly drunk person. The classes offered to bar employees teach them to notice the signs like stumbling and slurred speech. They give tips such as calling a taxi for any visibly intoxicated patrons. Some patrons are asked to leave for drunk and rowdy behavior. In those cases a taxi should always be called.
Dram shop laws most often come into play in D.U.I. cases. If a bar patron leaves the establishment and becomes involved in an accident that results in vehicle damage, personal injury or death the injured parties or the survivors of the accident can sue the bar.
The complicated dram shop laws and extensive legal jargon involved in these cases make them tricky. There is no doubt a personal injury lawyer can maneuver through this type of legal red tape much easier than a novice. Anyone facing a drunk driving case that had been previously been at a bar may not be totally responsible and a personal injury lawyer can help determine that factor.
Moseley Collins is an experienced personal injury lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience with California laws. He strives to serve his clients to best of his ability.