How DUI and Dram Shop Liability Are Related

dram shop liability

What you’ll learn reading this article:

  • Impairment can happen at a BAC level of .02%, only ¼ of the legal DUI concentration.
  • Impaired drivers may not always meet the established blood alcohol concentration DUI level and yet they can still cause alcohol-related accidents.
  • Bar and restaurant owners who over-serve can be found legally responsible for damages resulting from alcohol-related accidents. 

Driving Impairment Can Occur Quicker Than You Think

Laws regarding DUI (driving under the influence), also referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI), are fairly well-known throughout the United States. While they differ slightly from state to state, the gist is still the same.  

In Indiana, a driver is found to be operating while intoxicated if they are operating a vehicle:

  • With a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above
  • With any illegal, controlled substances in their blood system, such as cocaine, methamphetamine or hallucinogenic drugs
  • If intoxicated

In addition, any driver in Indiana under the legal drinking age of 21 is found to be operating while intoxicated if they have a BAC of .02% or more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million people were arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics in 2016 and 10,497 people died in alcohol-related crashes. However, sometimes people may be impaired and still not meet the established BAC limit. For instance, in 2017 almost 2,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents where the driver did not have a BAC of .08%.  

The CDC notes BAC levels as low as .02% -about the equivalent of two alcoholic beverages- begin to cause impairments in a person’s behavior that include loss of judgment, relaxation, visual impairment and a decline in the ability to perform more than one task at a time. With each successive alcoholic beverage, both BAC levels and impairment increases.

Three drinks, which puts the average person’s BAC at about .05%, can cause such driving-related issues as loss of small-muscle control, difficulty steering, reduced coordination and the ability to track moving objects, such as other vehicles, pedestrians or changing traffic signals, and altered judgment.

When you think about it, a BAC level of .08% is really pretty liberal when it comes to potential risk -it’s about four drinks- and it’s no wonder accidents caused by alcohol can happen before this level is ever reached. This is why it is so important not to drink and drive — even if you don’t have much to drink, you may be more impaired than you realize.

How Many People Do Drunk Drivers Impact?

What many people don’t realize when they choose to drink and drive is just how many other people they are affecting. While they may make it home safely, they are putting themselves, their loved ones and everyone else on the road at risk. In addition, if a DUI-related accident occurs, even the person who supplied them the alcohol can be at risk due to dram shop liability. 

How Liquor Liability Comes Into Play

A dram is an antiquated term for a unit of alcohol and dram shop or liquor liability laws affect those who supply alcohol to others in the state of Indiana. If a restaurant, a bar or even a social host like a caterer knowingly serves an intoxicated person more alcohol -and that intoxicated person later causes an accident, dram shop laws indicate that the person who supplied the alcohol may be held liable for damages caused, even if the intoxicated individual is the only person who is hurt. Indiana dram shop laws and understanding liquor liability can be complicated, so seeking help from a qualified attorney well-versed in our state’s laws is imperative in the event of an alcohol-related accident, whether you suffer injury in an alcohol-related car accident or you are a server in a bar. Luckily, the attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri are knowledgeable in both DUI defense and dram shop liquor liability. We can help. 

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery – Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Don’t hesitate – one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.