Georgia Dram Shop Statute

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. Based in Lawrenceville, Georgia in Gwinnett County, he handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Call him for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

Dram shop laws refer to laws that hold liable establishments that serve alcohol to patrons who then drive and injure or kill innocent victims. The Georgia dram shop statute is O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40. The pertinent part of the statute is subsection (b) which provides:

“(b) A person who sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury, death, or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, including injury or death to other persons; provided, however, a person who willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, or who knowingly sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a state of noticeable intoxication, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person when the sale, furnishing, or serving is the proximate cause of such injury or damage. Nothing contained in this Code section shall authorize the consumer of any alcoholic beverage to recover from the provider of such alcoholic beverage for injuries or damages suffered by the consumer.”

In other words, when a person in Georgia is injured or killed by a driver who was driving under the influence of alcohol, in addition to recovering damages from the DUI driver, the person or business that either sold, furnished, or served the alcohol to that driver may also be held liable and may be an additional source of recovery. O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40(b) applies when alcohol is sold, furnished, or served:

(1)

a.  Willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully to a person under 21 years of age, OR

b.  Knowingly to a person who is in a noticeable state of intoxication;

(2) Knowing that such person (either the under 21 person or the noticeably intoxicated person) will soon be driving a motor vehicle; and

(3) when the sale, furnishing, or serving is the proximate cause of the injury or damage.

The statute further provides a defense to the person or business serving the alcohol to under 21 persons when relying on an identification showing the person was 21 or older. In any dram shop case there will be significant battles during the course of negotiation or litigation regarding each of the three elements outlined above. It is very important to have a lawyer representing you if you have been injured by a DUI driver as dram shop cases can be very complicated to prove. While a battle, dram shop laws are a potential source of a significant increase in recovery to victims of DUI drivers who often have significant losses. Many victims of DUI wrecks sustain life-altering injuries, and, unfortunately, there are way too many DUI Vehicular Homicide wrecks in Georgia.         

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in DUI motor vehicle wreck in Georgia, contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.