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Does Maryland Have Dram Shop Laws?

Portrait of vintage barman workin in bar. Pouring and preparing cocktails

When a drunk driver injures or kills another person on the road, is the bar that served them the drinks responsible for the accident? According to Dram Shop Laws, they most certainly are. The question, however, is whether or not this is the case in the state of Maryland. Let’s take a look.

What is a Dram Shop?

Before we get into the law, let’s examine what a dram shop is in the first place. Back in 18th century England, spoonfuls of gin were sold in quantities known as “drams”. Though we no longer use the term, it has persisted in the legal sector.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram Shop Laws state that the establishment which served the alcohol that caused the injuries or fatalities is partially responsible for the damages caused. These laws allow DUI victims to sue alcohol retailers and vendors in a civil lawsuit for financial compensation.

Does Maryland Have Dram Shop Laws?

The short answer is: No. Maryland is one of eight states that do not have dram shop laws. Thus, victims of DUI-related injuries cannot sue the bars or retailers which sold drunk drivers their drinks. That’s not to say you cannot sue someone for damages, because you can. You can sue a drunk person who had injured you, but you cannot sue the vendor which gave them access to the alcohol.

Maryland Does Have Social Host Liability Laws

Though Maryland doesn’t have Dram Shop laws, we do have social host liability laws. These laws state that an adult who provides alcohol to a minor in a private social situation can face criminal penalties for doing so. However, this does not mean the host can be sued for any injuries or damages the intoxicated underage person causes.

That being said, the penalties for providing alcohol to a minor are quite severe. A first offense can result in fines up to $2,500 and possible jail time. Second, third, and further offenses can mean fines up to $5,000.

Ross W. Albers Can Help You With Your DUI Case

If you’re facing a DUI in Westminster, Columbia, Essex, or any other region in Maryland, Albers & Associates can help you. Our office has a proven track record of excellence with DUI cases and we can extend that same level of expertise and dedication to your case.

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