California legally prohibits individuals from driving under the influence (DUI). If you are charged with a DUI, it is important to start building a legal defense right away. While working on your defense, you may have questions about your legal options for handling these charges.
Some drivers wonder if they can sue the bar where they were drinking if they get a DUI in California. This legal option is generally not recommended, as bar owners in California have limited responsibility for serving alcohol to patrons. Find out more about lawsuits involving bars and other defenses to DUI charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Dram Shop Laws in the State of California
Before we discuss the legal responsibility of bars in California, it is important that we discuss dram shop laws. Dram shop laws dictate the responsibility of bar employees to cut off customers who appear to be inebriated.
Many states throughout the country have strict dram shop laws that hold drinking establishments criminally and civilly responsible for serving alcohol to patrons. California’s dram shop laws, on the other hand, are very minor.
In almost all cases, bars in California will not face civil liability for overserving patrons. Bars are also not held criminally responsible for drunk driving accidents, though they may face criminal charges for serving a customer who is already inebriated.
Suing a Bar as a DUI Driver in California
You are not legally able to sue a bar as a driver convicted of a DUI in California. According to California’s state laws, individuals are responsible for injuries and property damage caused by a DUI if they consume an alcoholic beverage.
Per California Business and Professions Code Section 25602, furnishing an alcoholic beverage to someone does not constitute responsibility for a DUI accident.
Legal Regulations on Bars in California
Note that, just because bars are not considered criminally liable for DUI charges in California, they are not allowed to legally serve individuals who appear inebriated. In fact, bars in California can face misdemeanor charges if they are convicted of serving customers who are visibly drunk.
However, reporting a bar for overserving you may not help if you are accused of a DUI in Los Angeles. Insisting that you were intoxicated at the time of your arrest because you were overserved by the bar, can make it more difficult for a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to build your defense.
Suing a Bar for Serving Alcohol to Minors
We’ve mentioned that most of the time bars are not considered civilly liable for overserving patrons in California. There is one exception to this general rule. Bars may be held civilly liable if they:
- Serve alcohol to a minor
- Who is visibly intoxicated AND
- That minor goes on to cause damages
In this situation, however, the minor would still not be able to sue the bar. This means that even if you are under 21 and arrested for a DUI, you cannot sue the bar that sold you the alcohol.
Anyone injured by the minor could sue the bar for civil damages, but the minor would not be able to do so. The establishment could also face criminal charges for selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21.
Defenses for DUI Charges in the State of California
As you can see, blaming a bar after a DUI in California will generally not help you resolve your legal issues. Fortunately, a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help you face these charges using other defenses. A legal professional could be able to argue that:
- You were not actually inebriated while operating your vehicle
- You were stopped without reasonable cause by a law enforcement officer
- You were subjected to blood alcohol content (BAC) tests that returned false-positive results
You have legal options if you get a DUI in California. Allow a DUI lawyer to begin investigating your charges right now to develop a specialized defense for you that does not involve suing the bar that served you alcohol.
Speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Right Now
You can get professional assistance handling DUI charges in California by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group. Let us begin working on a strong defense for you right now. We are ready to dig into your case today with a FREE consultation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.
Call us at (310) 997-4688 or fill out our online contact form to get legal advice from criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.