Is The Bartender To Blame? What You Should Know About Bartender Liability Laws

If you have been charged with a DUI after a night out in a bar, you may think you have no one to blame but yourself. While you bear much of the responsibility, most every state in the nation now prohibits the sale of alcohol to clearly inebriated individuals. While there is some variance among states, the bottom line is that bartenders and those serving alcohol can receive much of the liability through violation of the laws in place to protect those drinking in an establishment. The following is information about these laws and how your bartender could be held liable.

How Can A Bartender Know You've Had Too Much?

Bartenders are not at liberty to perform any type of DUI screening, but they are supposed to know what to look for in a person once they have had too much to drink. Being intoxicated is often described as a person who has had enough alcohol that it observably affects a person's overall disposition. Some of these things include an inability to balance, knocking over drinks or lack of coordination, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and an overall disheveled appearance. Any of these can signal a person who clearly has had too much to drink.

Are The Laws Always Enforced?

The answer to this will depend largely on where you live. In some areas, the laws are very strict and are fully enforced. However, other areas of the country do not follow them as strictly. For instance, in areas that are known for wild partying, such as New Orleans or Las Vegas, you will not find as much enforcement as you would in smaller, less raucous areas of the country.

In addition to geographical region, there are some practical reasons why these may not always be enforced. In areas that have a very small budget for law enforcement, you may find that they focus on the more critical areas of the law, like robbery or murder.

Still other areas are not enforcing the laws because they are somewhat undefined and unclear. This can lead to inconsistent enforcement, which can lead to a completely different set of legal issues for bartenders.

While there are laws in place to prevent over-serving to inebriated people, keep in mind that there is quite a bit of ambiguity in the laws. If you are hoping to get out of your DUI charges by placing blame on your bartender, you will need to work closely with your DUI attorney to see how often these laws are enforced where you live.