By now, just about everyone should be aware that there are serious consequences to driving while intoxicated. If you cause an accident while driving under the influence those consequences may be even more severe, particularly is the accident results in injuries to occupants of the other vehicle. What about the establishment that sold you the alcohol though? Can a restaurant, bar, liquor store, or even a private individual be held responsible if you get behind the wheel after drinking and then injure someone in a drunk driving accident? The answer depends on the answer to another question – “Does Nebraska have a Dram Shop law.”
“Dram Shop” is a term used to refer to an establishment that’s sells alcoholic beverages. The term originally referred to a place where alcohol was served by the “dram” which is a small serving of a liquid. Dram Shop laws are laws that hold the furnisher of alcohol responsible for injuries that occurred as a result of furnishing the alcohol. Dram Shop laws, therefore, create indirect liability. As of 2015, 30 states have some form of a Dram Shop law, including Nebraska. Of those states, 22 of them (including Nebraska) only hold party responsible for serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual who is under the legal drinking age.
Neb. Rev. Stat. §53-401 et seq. is where Nebraska’s Dram Shop law is found, reading as follows:
Neb. Rev. Stat. §53-180.07, in turn, provides a defendant with a defense to liability under Nebraska’s Dram Shop law, stating as follows:
(b) The appearance of such purchaser was such that an ordinary and prudent person would believe that such appearance conformed to any documentary description of appearance presented by the purchaser; and
(c) The seller was acting in good faith, in reliance upon the written representation, other documentary evidence, and the appearance of the purchaser, and in the belief the purchaser was of legal age to make such purchase; or
(2) The seller was acting with the knowledge of and in cooperation with a duly authorized law enforcement officer.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska, or you have a child who has been charged with an alcohol related driving offense, contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.