Alcohol Sellers Can Be Culpable in DWI Cases
When a person is accused of driving while intoxicated, they are considered responsible for becoming intoxicated and choosing to drive. A first-time DWI conviction in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by as long as 180 days in jail, a fine of $2,000, and a driver’s license suspension. However, responsibility for a DWI sometimes extends to the person who served the alcohol to the driver. It is a crime in Texas to sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated, and a conviction can lead to serious consequences – particularly if the intoxicated person hurts someone during their DWI incident.
Bartender Charged in Connection with DWI Case
A bartender in Austin, Texas, was recently arrested for allegedly serving alcohol to an intoxicated man who was later involved in a fatal accident. The driver was charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid. The driver allegedly hit a man pushing a shopping cart and fled the scene on foot before police caught him. An investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission determined that a bartender at an area restaurant had served alcohol to the driver when he was noticeably intoxicated. After arresting the bartender, the Commission stated that alcohol retailers and their employees must be accountable for monitoring the physical condition of their customers and potentially preventing a DWI incident.
Selling alcohol to an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor offense and punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and up to a year in jail. However, the consequences extend beyond criminal charges. The person who sold alcohol to an intoxicated driver may be liable for personal injury damages if someone was hurt or killed in an accident. The establishment that sold the alcohol could be fined or have its liquor license suspended.
The most useful defense when someone is accused of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person is claiming that they did not know the person was intoxicated. People who sell or serve alcohol are required to look for signs of intoxication, such as:
- Lack of balance
- Slurry or loud speech
- Exaggerated movements
If a customer did not show these symptoms and did not have an abnormal amount to drink, the establishment can claim that they could not have reasonably known that the customer was intoxicated.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
Just as a bartender may not notice signs of intoxication, a driver may not realize that they are legally intoxicated when they get behind the wheel. You do not have to be noticeably intoxicated to commit a DWI, but a police officer must have probable cause to believe that you are intoxicated in order to arrest you. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can work with you to determine whether your arrest was legal. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.