Most people who drink alcohol have been to a party or other social gathering where one or more people drank a little too much and drove home. Many may have even been the person who drank too much at the party and drove home, although hopefully they made it to their destination without incident. Unfortunately, when a person who drinks and drives at a social gathering does experience an accident, the host of the party may face some liability for the results of that accident.
Tennessee, like many other states, observes social host liability, especially when it comes to serving alcohol to minors. If a minor drinks at a social gathering and then gets into an accident, authorities pay special attention to where the minor obtained the alcohol and whether the person who supplied the alcohol had any knowledge of the minor drinking.
If you are under the age of 21 and recently received drunk driving charges after drinking at a social gathering, it is important to understand how this may affect your legal defense. It is always wise to consider every option as you prepare your defense.
Are adults responsible for underage drinking?
While it is common for an adult to face legal liability for the actions of an underage person, there are exceptions. Social liability is similar to dram shop laws in that they focus on whether the adult "in charge" of the social event knew that an individual was intoxicated and would soon drive a vehicle.
If an adult knowingly furnished or served alcohol to an underage person, this may qualify as negligence, and may result in criminal charges. For the purposes of the law, "furnishing" alcohol simply means to make it available, while "serving" alcohol means to deliver the alcohol to an individual, knowing that the person is under the legal drinking age.
Are your rights secure?
No matter who you are or the circumstances that led to your drunk driving charges, if you are under 21, you must take these charges seriously and fight against them. Drunk driving charges can cause serious problems for many years, especially as you leave home and begin building a life on your own as a legal adult.
Make sure that you use all the legal resources you have available to keep your record clean and your options open as you move into a new chapter of life. Learning how to responsibly handle the many opportunities that may come your way in adulthood is not an easy process. A few small missteps in your formative years can keep you from achieving your full potential. Protect your rights and your future now, before it is too late.