Part 2 – Alabama’s Dram Shop Act (“in violation of the law”)

For there to be liability under Alabama’s Dram Shop Act, the alcohol must have been provided “in violation of the law.” Selling alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated is “in violation of the law,” as is selling alcohol to someone under 21.

The Alabama Supreme Court has been reluctant to extend Dram Shop liability to people who provide alcohol to social guests at their home. The reason for this is that, unless the guest is a minor, serving alcohol to a guest at your home normally is not “in violation of the law.” This is true even if you happen to live in a dry county.

The same principles apply where a company hosts a social function, such as a Christmas party, and its employees or other guests are drinking alcohol. In such situations, Alabama’s Dram Shop Act probably does not apply.

In contrast, if someone sold alcohol to another person in a dry county, this likely would be considered “in violation of the law,” and thus covered under the Dram Shop Act.

The “in violation of the law” requirement is much easier to prove when a business sells or serves alcohol to someone visibly intoxicated or to a minor, because the sale of alcohol is heavily regulated by the Alabama Beverage Control Board (ABC Board). The failure to comply with these regulations is “in violation of the law.”

If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated driver, a restaurant or store may be liable for your resulting injuries. At The Ryder Law Firm, we have been assisting the victims of alcohol-related injuries for over 20 years. Contact us today. We care and we will help!

(To be continued)