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One For The Road – Dram Shop Laws in Arizona

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on March 25, 2016

“Why didn’t someone stop them?”

It is one of the most common questions following a drunk driving accident, especially when the person in question is quite drunk. Depending on the situation, stopping a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel might not be an option. But, in many instances, someone witnessed their gradual intoxication and eventual inebriation. Someone – a friend, a fellow patron, or even the bouncer had to notice the uncoordinated behavior or slurred speech. But, can anyone be held responsible for noticing the problem and failing to act?

Yes. In such a situation, the onus falls on the bartender to take action. Under Arizona dram shop laws, a bartender – and by extension the bar in which they operate – can be held liable for any damages for serving a visibly intoxicated individual who goes on to cause an accident. As outlined under Arizona Revised Statutes 4-311, an establishment can be held accountable if the court finds:

  • The bartender sold alcohol to someone who “was obviously intoxicated, or to a purchaser under the legal drinking age.”
  • The intoxicated individual consumed the purchased alcohol.
  • The consumption of said liquor was “a proximate cause of the injury, death or property damage.”

Of course, while dram shop laws seem clean cut on paper, in practice it is rarely as simple. What a bartender knew, when they knew it and what they did to remedy the situation can vary. In order to successfully pursue these types of damages, the injured party needs superior representation.

Contact Us Today

For additional information about dram shop laws in Arizona or to discuss your drunk driving accident, contact Breyer Law Offices, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us at (602) 457-6222.


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