Every state is in the midst of a crackdown on drunk drivers, including Minnesota. However, we all have a part to play in keeping drunk drivers off the road. If your friend becomes inebriated, you may become conflicted between letting them make their own decisions and keeping someone potentially too drunk to drive off the road. However, if you make the decision to let them get behind the wheel, does that give you culpability if they get into a drunk driving accident?
In many cases this falls under the social host liability law in Minnesota. This law states that if the host of a party knowingly served alcohol to minors or supplied the car key to an adult, then you can be held liable if any accidents occur thereafter. Minnesota also has dram shop laws that can cause the bar or drinking establishment to be held liable for over service that resulted in a drunk driver as well.
However, for the most part, this would only be considered a civil liability and not a criminal one. It could be argued that by letting someone drive while drunk you were responsible for gross negligence, which could come with criminal charges. However, in the end, they are their own person. If you were not responsible for serving them alcohol, you may bear no responsibility in their actions. However, if you were the host of a party, then you could face some additional civil charges from the party they hurt if it is discovered that you knowingly let them drive while under the influence.
In Minnesota, it can be a tricky situation when someone accuses you of letting someone drive while under the influence. However, there are a number of defenses that the right drunk driving lawyer can pursue, especially if you were not the drunk driver in question. If you are in a drunk driving situation, contact us today.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.