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What is Dram Shop Liability?

Answers From our Phoenix DUI Attorneys

There are thousands and thousands of people who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol every year in Arizona. The penalties for a DUI can range from a night in jail to months in jail, costly fines, a suspended driver's license, and more, and these charges should never be underestimated.

One of the main reasons why DUI charges happen is because people overestimate their ability to consume alcohol without becoming impaired, but Arizona law also holds another party at fault as well.

By law, establishments like bars, night clubs and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol to "obviously intoxicated" people or minors. If this does happen and a drunk person causes an accident, the establishment and the person who over-served alcohol can be held responsible for the injuries caused by the drunk person.

The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (ADLLC) issues liquor licenses to certain establishments throughout the state. These establishments have the legal responsibility to keep the public safe by not over-serving intoxicated persons. Any establishment that receives a liquor license in Arizona implicitly accepts this legal duty. In order for a claim to be brought against an establishment after an accident has caused injury, the following must be proven according to Arizona State Law §4-311:

(1) the licensee sold liquor to a purchaser who was obviously intoxicated

(2) the purchaser consumed the liquor sold by the licensee; and

(3) the consumption of the liquor was a proximate cause of the injury or property damage.

If you have found yourself or your establishment to be the target of a personal injury, property damage or wrongful death claim, you can find the support and tough defense you need by contacting Knowles Law Firm, PLC.

Protecting Your Rights from Dram Shop Liability

The legal term "obviously intoxicated" defines a person for whom a reasonable person can tell has drunk too much alcohol. Actions such as slurred speech, lost coordination, and inability to walk without stumbling are all common signs that a person is intoxicated. The employees of an establishment that serves alcohol are expected to be able to tell if their customers are intoxicated or not, as serious legal penalties are at stake.

There are, however, several limitations on Arizona's dram shop law. For example, friends, family members or other persons who do not possess an Arizona liquor license will not be held liable under the dram shop law for providing alcohol to those who are 21 and older. These other parties, called "Social Hosts", do not possess a liquor license and are not selling out of an establishment.

Another limitation on Arizona's dram shop law states that only those who are directly injured can hold the serving establishment liable under these laws. For instance, the drunk driver and his/her family cannot hold the establishment responsible for damages.

In many cases, dram shop claims represent one component of a larger accident claim and can be paired with DUI charges. If you have been charged with a DUI or a dram shop claim, contact a Phoenix DUI lawyer at Knowles Law Firm, PLC to learn about how you can protect your rights.

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