The good news is that the number of people killed by drunk drivers in California is lower than the national average. The bad news is that thousands of people are injured or killed by drunk drivers each year. If they are, it sometimes happens that the person who was drunk driving wonders if the bar they were drinking at is partially responsible.
In most cases, they are not – but there are a few exceptions. If you have been charged with a DUI it is unlikely that you will be able to use being overserved as a legal excuse. However, you can read on to find out more about the potential civil consequences of a bartender overserving an individual. Be sure that you contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation regarding your criminal case. We are here to help find the best possible outcome.
It All Comes Down to the Dram Shop Laws
California Civil Code Section 1714, more commonly referred to as the Dram Shop Law, states that bartenders and the owners of bars are protected from liability if a person leaves their bar drunk, drivers, and then hurts someone. The code states that an individual is responsible for their own acts and that the cause of being drunk is not that the bartender served them drinks, but rather that the drinker drank the drinks.
There Are a Few Exceptions
Of course, the law is rarely black and white and this is no exception. One exception is included right in the code known as Section D. It states that if an adult serves alcohol to a person who is not yet legally old enough to drink (21) and that minor drinks and drives, the person who supplied the alcohol can be held liable for any damages the minor causes.
There is another potential exception, which is found in a different legal code – the California Business and Professions Code. It states that a person or company that sells, gives, or otherwise provides alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated or who is known to be habitually drunk can be convicted of a misdemeanor criminal charge. These charges are uncommon and generally only apply if the person who was served goes on to cause damage or injury to a person or property.
Do You Need Legal Help for a DUI Charge?
Have you been charged with a DUI? If so, you need legal help right away. At Law Office of Michael L. Fell we can provide a free legal consultation. During this consultation, we will learn about your case, consider the evidence, and provide you with options. It may be that we fight to have the charge reduced, we may request alternative sentencing options, or we may fight the charge completely – it all depends on the case. Contact us now at (949) 585-9055 to learn more about your best options.