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Dram Shop Law 101

dram shopDram Shop Law in California – What You Need to Know

Alcohol consumption and distribution affects many people – it is important that you stay on top of the laws – such as dram shop – that govern this area of business and socializing. The nature of dram shop makes it something that should be understood by anyone in the business of serving and distributing alcohol. Dram shop law affects each state differently, and various limitations are imposed even within the states that do employ dram shop laws. For California, the laws have been updated and so it is imperative you make sure you are informed. Here’s what you need to know…

1. What is Dram Shop?
Dram Shop law refers to the liability that an establishment or person serving alcohol carries when it comes to third party injury. Basically, if you serve, or give, or in any way provide alcohol to a person who then goes on to injure a third person, the extent to which you are liable for that injury, as the server, is determined by Dram shop. Dram shop means to suggest that you are accountable for assessing whether or not a person is able to comfortably hold their own after a drink provided by you. Are they able to function in a safe manner? If not, dram shop law suggests that you think twice before handing over the next drink.

2. Spheres of Dram Shop
As stated, the laws and regulations are not so rigid as to suggest that there is liability under each circumstance. You are not always liable for actions of the person whom you are serving. Dram shop will be applied differently in each case. It could be that you are held liable for any accident or harm caused by a person who is under the influence if you, as either a social host or an establishment owner, have furbished that person with alcohol after it should have been apparent that they are too drunk to behave safely. It could be that there are other factors that interfere with whether or not you are liable. These factors include whether or not the person is a minor, and what state you happen to find yourself in.

3. Dram shop in California
The state of California has decided that the full extent of dram shop law needs to be regulated and that liability should be restricted to one circumstance. This one circumstance the state feels that dram shop law is necessary to employ is in the case where alcohol has been served to a minor who is passed the point of no return and it should be clear that they would no longer be able to maintain a responsible level of safety in their actions. Therefore, the only condition under which you as a social host, or business owner, serving alcohol will need to be concerned is if harm comes to someone through the actions of a minor that was served by you or your institution.

Even though this law has been changed and California seems committed to ensuring that liability is strictly managed, it is still important to stay on top of this ever changing law, and any other laws to do with alcohol consumption and distribution. Keep yourself and your business liability free.

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