Is Connecticut’s Social Host Liability Law Similar to Dram Shop Laws?

Social host liability laws in Connecticuts

Everyone knows it’s never a good idea to overserve your guests. If you’re having a party and someone drinks too much, all sorts of trouble can ensue. They could sick from alcohol poisoning. They could fall and get hurt at your house. Or, worse, they could get in an accident on the way home and kill themselves or somebody else, which can leave you in trouble with social host liability laws.

If you’re having a party and will be serving alcohol, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Take your guests keys so they can’t leave if they are intoxicated
  • Offer them a place to stay so they are safe
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you serve
  • Arrange for Ubers or other drivers for people who drink too much

Many DUI accidents occur because patrons were overserved. This can happen at bars, restaurants or nightclubs. The same thing can happen at a social get together. It’s your responsibility as host to make sure everyone gets home safely. You owe it to your guests and innocent drivers on the road.

The difference between a social host and a bar or restaurant is simple: there is a statute that specifically prohibits bars from overserving their customers. There is no comparable law for social hosts. However, the court will still find you liable if injuries result from guests being overserved.

What is the Dram Shop Law in Connecticut?

Connecticut, like most states, has laws that address establishments that overserve their patrons. The law in Connecticut applies to anybody that sells or provides alcohol to their customers. The law applies whether the customers are of legal drinking age or not.

If a vendor sells or gives alcohol to a guest who is already intoxicated, he will be held liable for any injuries that ensure. This includes:

  • A patron’s injuries if he gets in a car accident due to his intoxication
  • The injuries of any passengers injured in the accident
  • Liability for any medical damages caused by intoxication
  • Any property damage caused by a DUI accident by a patron

The thing about the dram laws, though, isn’t strictly applied. The vendor has to be more than just negligent. He has to intentionally or recklessly serve alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated.

If a plaintiff sues a vendor under the Connecticut Dram Shop law, he will have a high hurdle to overcome.

Criminal Lawyers Can Represent Both Vendors and Social Hosts

If you own a bar or restaurant and are sued under the Dram Shop law, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer in Middleton. You could be facing severe penalties if you are found to have overserved a patron who becomes injured.

You can be held both criminally and civilly liable. This is why it’s so important that vendors are careful about how much they serve their patrons.

When it comes to social hosts, the dram shop law may not apply. However, they can still be held liable for any damages caused by drunken guests. In Connecticut, it is a misdemeanor for social hosts to knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence to overserve.

The law applies as follows:

  • You cannot provide alcohol to a minor
  • You must make reasonable efforts to keep alcohol out of the hands of a minor

You’ll notice, the social host laws only apply to minors. However, you can still be held civilly liable for any damages suffered or caused by an adult who drinks alcohol at your party.

What Should You Do If You’re Charged Criminally as a Social Host in Middleton, Connecticut?

If you allow your teenagers to have a party at your house, you may want to stick around until it’s over. If they end up drinking or serving alcohol to their friends, you could be criminally liable. Although it’s just a misdemeanor, you could still face fines and possible jail time.

If you’ve been charged with serving alcohol to minors, you’re going to need a criminal defense lawyer in Middleton. The last thing you need is a criminal record for serving alcohol to underage kids.

Call and schedule your initial consultation today. Your criminal defense attorney can sit down with you and explain how the law works in Connecticut. He can also call and speak with the prosecutor to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced.

You’ll have a lot of questions. You want to rely on an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you through the process. You don’t want to risk handling this yourself. There’s simply too much at stake.

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