California Dram Shop Laws

In many states, bars can be held liable if they sell alcohol to a guest who is obviously intoxicated, and they injure or kill another person.  These laws, often referred to as the Dram Shop Act, can mean that bars or other social hosts may be held accountable when a patron who was overserved is involved in a drunk driving accident.

California is a rare exception to these laws.  The state legislature amended state law under Civil Code section 1714 (c) “no social host who furnishes alcohol beverages to any person may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person, or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third person resulting from the consumption of those beverages.”  This code effectively eliminates third-party liability for social hosts, bars and other establishments that serve alcohol.

The rebuke to the common dram shop laws in other states is not without exception.  For example, California does allow liability if a parent, guardian or other adult knowingly supplies alcohol to someone under the age of 21 in their home and that the alcohol given to that person is the proximate cause of the injury or accident.

Unfortunately, alcohol-related incidents happen every day.  While it is never the intention of someone to cause injury or harm to another person, drinking and driving rarely results in a good outcome.  Monitoring alcohol consumption is easily done with devices like the SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet to ensure that a person is maintaining sobriety.