When is a Bar Responsible for Drunk Driving Behavior?

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As a DUI defense attorney will tell you, Indiana is among the many states who have dram shop laws that can, on occasion, put the responsibility of a drunk driver on an establishment. When someone is leaving a bar, it may be the bar’s responsibility to ensure that the person gets home safely. That can go beyond ensuring physical safety and may even revert the entirety of liability on the “furnisher” of the liquor.

What “Establishments” Qualify for Dram Shop Laws?

Indiana’s dram shop laws make any person who provided the liquor possibly liable for damages and injuries if they knowingly let that person drive afterward,. Although this law is most commonly applied to bars where the owners and bartenders are aware of their responsibility, it can go far beyond that scope.

When dining at a restaurant that serves liquor, a brewery, or even a wine tasting center, it’s possible that someone should have intervened. If you left an establishment that served liquor and then got into an accident or a DUI, it might assist your defense. These servers and bartenders who are trained to spot customers who may have had too much to drink.  If they allowed you to leave and presumeably drive, they may have evidence that can help you defend your case.

The primary aspect to consider when identifying these potential witnesses is to learn what training hey have had. Bars are well-known for calling cabs, Uber, Lyft, or a friend or relative to get you home safely.  Some bars even have drivers on staff to facilitate getting their customers home.

Handling a DUI

In Indiana, there’s a lot focus around DUI rates and the fact that they’ve dropped in recent years. However, dropped DUI rates don’t mean that there’s a lesser chance of getting a DUI. The town, city, county, and state police departments aren’t ignoring the offense. They will issue DUI citations and charges whenever they suspect that someone was drinking and driving.

It is rare when a police officer gives a driver the benefit of the doubt.  Having trained witnesses who could assist you to defend the charges is important.  Although they deny it, police officers often sit on bars, taverns, or breweries.  They will frequently pull over patrons that they are fishing to determine if the driver is above the legal limit. Although the rate of fatalities has gone down as low as 99 alcohol-related fatalities per year, police are as vigilant as ever. The result is that they will often issue citations when it’s unwarranted.

If you are in this type of situation, then you need legal help. It’s possible that you aren’t DUI, or that you were not intoxicated when you left the bar.

Can a DUI Defense Attorney Use a Dram Law in a Drunk Driving Defense Case?

It is possible to use a dram shop law for defense in both criminal and civil cases depending on the situation. For example, if you were got a DUI because of an accident, you can argue that you were not impaired using bar and restaurant staff as your defense witnesses.

To use a dram shop law as a DUI defense, you need an experienced Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer. Someone who knows how to interpret and implement these lesser-known laws. After a DUI, you probably have a number of concerns about your immediate future. It’s not uncommon for someone to worry, but with a DUI defense attorney, you can worry less.

Do You Need to Contact a DUI Defense Attorney?

Dram shop laws are a nuanced and niche area of the law. But if you think you were not impaired or over the legal limit, use of dram shop laws to look for witnesses to your defense. There’s also issues of drunk driving if you were knowingly the designated driver or had explicitly expressed that you weren’t drinking. Many bars, clubs, and breweries offer wristbands for designated drivers, but still, allow them to order alcoholic beverages.

Whenever you have a DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana, it’s always best to involve an attorney. Many people don’t think that they have options and that a DUI arrest does not mean a DUI conviction. The Indianapolis Police Department definitely makes it seem as if the moment you’re arrested, you’re in for jail time, thousands in fines, and worse.

That’s not true. You may have witnesses other than the officer who can testify about your level of impairment and what you were served.  Discuss these aspects of your case with a DUI defense lawyer. Call the Rathburn Law Office for more information on defending against a DUI charge.