Dram Shop Laws in Arizona
Bartenders usually undergo training to make an assortment of drinks that please crowds of people. They are also trained to look out for people that have consumed too much alcohol and are belligerently drunk, or people that could be too young to drink alcohol legally.
People have free will so one would assume an intoxicated person would solely be left responsible for damages they instilled while under the influence. The licensed person that served the alcohol to the consumer could be on the hook in some situations.
When Is a Server Required to Stop Serving Alcohol
The bartender or licensee becomes partially liable for a consumer’s actions if they serve them alcohol without properly confirming a person’s age, or if they serve alcohol to a person that is already “obviously intoxicated” (ARS§4-311).
This licensee’s partial responsibility could be as little as serving a minor who damages neighboring park property as an aftereffect of the alcohol or vast negative effects such as being responsible for personal injuries to the consumer, or even an action for wrongful death. According to ARS §4-311 “A. A licensee is liable for property damage and personal injuries or is liable to a person who may bring an action for wrongful death pursuant to section 12-612, or both, if a court or jury finds all of the following:
- The licensee sold spirituous liquor either to a purchaser who was obviously intoxicated, or to a purchaser under the legal drinking age without requesting identification containing proof of age or with knowledge that the person was under the legal drinking age.
- The purchaser consumed the spirituous liquor sold by the licensee.
- The consumption of spirituous liquor was a proximate cause of the injury, death or property damage.
- No licensee is chargeable with knowledge of previous acts by which a person becomes intoxicated at other locations unknown to the licensee unless the person was obviously intoxicated. If the licensee operates under a restaurant license, the finder of fact shall not consider any information obtained as a result of a restaurant audit conducted pursuant to section 4-213 unless the court finds the information relevant.
- For the purposes of subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section, if it is found that an underage person purchased spirituous liquor from a licensee and such underage person incurs or causes injuries or property damage as a result of the consumption of spirituous liquor within a reasonable period of time following the sale of the spirituous liquor, it shall create a rebuttable presumption that the underage person consumed the spirituous liquor sold to such person by the licensee.
- For the purposes of this section, “obviously intoxicated” means inebriated to such an extent that a person’s physical faculties are substantially impaired and the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction that would have been obvious to a reasonable person.” (Arizona Revised Statutes §4-311).
Conclusion to Dram Shop Laws in Arizona
With this being said we can now see a new light on why the waitress or waiter would rather deny an intoxicated person and deal with their reaction then instead of serving them and then being sued for wrongful death by a distraught family member who blames the server. ARS §4-312 continues to describe details such as the fact that the licensee would not be responsible for anyone that was over the legal drinking age who is injured or whose property is damaged or for someone who was present while the alcohol was consumed. This of course protects the bartenders from people purposefully trying to take advantage of situations and file claims against the licensee that aren’t justified from the original violating act just to collect funds.