What is Dram Shop Liability?

preventing drunk drivingA dram is a small unit of liquid that was often used to measure out alcoholic beverages. Dram shop is a catch-all term used to describe businesses that serve alcohol. There are many laws surrounding the legal sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. One of the more complicated legal concepts pertaining to alcohol is dram shop liability.

When an establishment serves alcohol, it can be held accountable for the intoxicated behavior of its patrons. This liability extends beyond the walls of the shop, meaning that bars can be held accountable for damages that arise from automobile accidents that are caused by their intoxicated customers after they leave the establishment.

Primarily, dram shop laws have been put in effect to prevent bars and similar businesses from over-serving their patrons. Patrons have to get home from the bar somehow, and many choose to drive themselves. Putting the liability of a customer’s drunkenness in the hands of the bars means they will not serve a person so much alcohol that they are noticeably and dangerously drunk when they leave, making them less likely to be in a drunk driving accident.

While it may seem unfair that these laws limit a bar’s business, it is more unfair for them to profit from overselling alcohol to intoxicated individuals who may be a danger to themselves or other people.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this! It’s a really interesting blog and super informative.

  2. Criminal defense is serious business and I am grateful that someone is writing about it.

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