According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
a person dies every 52 minutes in an alcohol-related traffic collision.
That translates to over 10,000 deaths per year. However, a new California
law aims to provide bartenders with training that would help them determine
when to stop serving a potentially intoxicated patron.
What Is the Responsible Interventions for Beverage Servers Training Act?
The Responsible Interventions for Beverage Servers Training Act, or the
RIBS Act, would go into effect in 2020 if it is approved by the California
legislature. It would require bartenders to complete a four-hour training
course within three months of starting their employment. They would also
have to take ongoing education courses every three years. Employers would
be required to certify that their employees have taken the course.
Are Bartenders Responsible for Drunk Patrons?
Under the proposed law, bars, liquor stores or other locations that sold
alcohol would not be held responsible for the action of a drunk patron.
For instance, if a patron got a DUI after being served at a bar, the bartender
would not be responsible for that driver's actions. It would also
not be a valid defense if used by a criminal defense lawyer. The only
way that a bartender or anyone else who sold liquor would be held responsible
for violating the law is if the buyer was under the age of 21.
Why Aren't Bartenders Being Held Responsible Under the New Law?
According to the RIBS Act, the fact that someone consumed an alcoholic
beverage is the proximate reason for any injuries or deaths caused by
that individual. What this means is that the person consuming alcohol
is responsible for drinking in moderation or taking other precautions
to prevent an accident from happening. The fact that an individual was
given alcohol is not considered to be a crime.
There is one exception related to those who are obviously intoxicated prior
to being served or if someone who is a known to be habitually drunk is
served. In some cases, either of those acts could be considered a misdemeanor.
However, a conviction on such a charge is unlikely as it can be difficult
to discern who may simply be having a good time as opposed to someone
who is drunk. There are times when even a Breathalyzer test won't
accurately show a person's blood alcohol content.
What About Social Host Laws?
For the most part, social host laws only exist to prevent an individual
to provide alcohol for those under the age of 21. Therefore, if you serve
alcohol to someone over the age of 21 and that person then goes and gets
into an accident, the person who got into the accident will be charged
with the DUI or any applicable charges. However, this doesn't mean
that you couldn't be found liable in a personal injury case if you
took actions that may have contributed to the injury or death of another person.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence and need a criminal
defense attorney, we are here to help. While you may have made a poor
decision to drink and drive, you deserve an attorney who will fight for
you. As the leading DUI defense firm in Riverside, San Bernardino and
Orange County, you can rest assured that your lawyer understands how to
preserve your rights throughout the legal process.