In Oklahoma bar owner liability for overserving patrons who later causes a DUI personal injury accident is called dram shop liability. It is tragic to be injured due to being involved in a motor vehicle accident with someone who has had too much to drink. Drunk drivers can cause accidents that result in serious injuries, even death. It may not always be apparent, but someone other than the intoxicated driver may share some legal fault for the accident. If a third party bar or restaurant served the driver alcohol when the driver was too intoxicated, it could be held liable for car accident injuries.
Dram Shop Law and Bar Owner Liability
A dram shop law regulates the harm caused by persons who buy alcoholic drinks from a third party, such as a bar or restaurant. All states, including Oklahoma, have some form of dram shop law.
Drunk Driving Fatalities: Oklahoma Vs. The National Average
Oklahoma has a higher rate of drunk driving fatalities than the nation. From 2003 to 2012, more than 2,200 people were killed in Oklahoma in accidents involving drunk drivers. In Oklahoma, 5.6 people per 100,000 died in 2012 in drunk driving incidents, compared to the national average of 3.3 people per 100,000.
Oklahoma Dram Shop Law
Oklahoma, by statute, regulates the sale of alcohol to persons considered already intoxicated. Any person who knowingly sells, furnishes, or gives alcoholic beverages to an insane, mentally deficient, or intoxicated person is guilty of a criminal offense under Oklahoma law. The ABLE Commission must revoke the license of any person convicted of a violation of this provision of Oklahoma law.
Penalties For A First Violation
It is a misdemeanor for the first violation of this Oklahoma criminal statute. Offenders are subject to a fine of not more than $500, imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or both.
Penalties For A Second Violation
Any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation is guilty of a felony. Offenders are subject to a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, or imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not more than five years, or by both fine and imprisonment.
As a result of recognizing that drunk driving remains a serious problem, many states have taken stricter measures to deal with third-party dram shop liability. In a 2017 ruling that followed a 2012 collision involving an intoxicated driver, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed the trial court and court of appeals and expanded dram shop liability within Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s highest court decided the following predominant issue raised on appeal: “Does Oklahoma recognize a cause of action against a commercial vendor of alcohol who sells alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated adult for consumption off of the premises when the sale results in an injury to an innocent third party driver or passenger?”
In Boyle v. ASAP Energy, Inc., 408 P.3d 183 (Okla. 2017), the court answered “yes” and held that a vendor, Fast Lane Stores, Inc., had a duty to desist from selling low-point beer to clearly intoxicated individuals. Until this decision, Oklahoma had never enforced this duty upon vendors selling alcohol to adult individuals for use off-premises.
Tulsa Oklahoma DUI Personal Injury Attorneys
The Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Kania Law Office are experienced and knowledgeable in dram shop cases. If you’ve suffered a DUI injury accident a bar owner might have overserved the person who caused the accident. For more information about how our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers can help you call (918) 743-2233 or contact us online.