Beyond The Driver: Other People Who May Be Legally Affected By A DUI Charge

Everybody knows that driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime. What many people don't know, however, is that the driver won't necessarily be the only one facing criminal charges for their action. Here are other people who may face legal consequences for another person's DUI:

The Passengers

The passengers aren't automatically off the hook just because they were not driving; there may be legal consequences for them too. This is especially true for sober passengers in a car being driven by an intoxicated driver. The sober passenger needs to explain why they let the intoxicated person drive; failure to offer a satisfactory explanation may lead to reckless endangerment charges.

Also, not just any explanation will suffice. The passenger must prove that it was much more dangerous for them to drive than to let the intoxicated person drive. A satisfactory explanation, for example, might be that the passenger doesn't know how to drive or that they have a medical condition that makes driving dangerous.

The Owner of the Car

The car owner may also get into trouble with the law, but only if they knew that the person they were giving the car to was intoxicated. Consider an example in which a person hosts a party (where alcohol is served) in their home. At the end of the party, one of the guests asks to borrow the host's car, and the host agrees despite the guest's visible intoxication. If this guest is arrested for DUI, the authorities may also come after the host and charge them with reckless endangerment.

The Alcohol Seller

Lastly, the person who sold alcohol to the motorist may also face some legal consequences. Many states have laws that criminalize the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons. Alcohol sellers are legally obligated to not sell liquor to those who already look intoxicated. For example, if a patron comes into a bar with slurred speech, staggered gait, and bloodshot eyes, it's easy to infer that they are drunk. If the bartender sells alcohol to the patron despite such evidence of intoxication, then they may face criminal charges if the patron is arrested for DUI after leaving the bar.

These laws have been enacted to reduce incidences of DUI since the violation has such a profound effect on the society. You also need a lawyer if you were a passenger to an intoxicated driver, gave an intoxicated driver your car, or sold alcohol to an intoxicated driver. Contact a law firm like the Law Office Of Kevin Abramovitz for additional information.