LMW’s Monthly Newsletter: December 

 December 3, 2014

By  LMW Attorneys

December Is National Drunk, Drugged, Driving (3D) Prevention Month

During this Holiday Season, remember these important tips when you are hosting or participating in social activities where alcohol is served. Social responsibility encompasses everything from planning the party menu to assessing how guests will get home safely once the party is over. Your role as a responsible party host can keep your friends and loved ones safe.

What Every Host Needs To Know

  • Don’t rely on coffee to sober up your guests. Only time can make someone sober.
  • Beer and wine are just as intoxicating as hard liquor. A 12-ounce can of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler and an ounce and a half of liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.
  • Don’t rely on someone’s physical appearance to determine if he or she has had too much to drink.
  • Mixers won’t help dilute alcohol. Carbonated mixers like club soda or tonic water cause alcohol to be absorbed into a person’s system more quickly. Fruit juice and other sweet mixers mask the taste of alcohol and may cause people to drink more.

During The Party

  • Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age, and never ask children to serve alcohol at parties.
  • Don’t let guests mix their own drinks. Choosing a reliable “bartender” will help you keep track of the size and number of drinks that guests consume.
  • If a guest appears to be drinking a bit much, offer to freshen his or her drink with a virgin version.
  • Do not push drinks! Drinking at a party is not mandatory for having a good time.
  • Have fun – but not too much fun. To be a good host, you should stay within your limits in order to make sure your guests stay within theirs.
  • Close the bar 90 minutes before the party ends and serve a great dessert treat with coffee. Remember, only time sobers someone who has been drinking.
  • If, despite your efforts, some of your guests have had too much to drink, drive them home, arrange for a ride with another guest who is sober, call a taxi, or invite them to stay over.

“Am I Legally Responsible If My Guest Drinks Too Much And Causes An Accident?”

HolidayCheerChampagneGlassesThis is the time of year when we host Open House Celebrations, parties and other get–together events. One of the questions we are asked is: What is my responsibility or liability if a guest who has been drinking and gets in an accident on the way home? In Florida, you are unlikely to be held responsible for any accident caused by your guest under what is referred to as “dram shop” laws. “Dram shop” laws refer to those who sell liquor or serve liquor such as a bar, restaurant or package store. If a drunk or impaired guest injures himself in an accident, he cannot collect damages. However, if the drunk or impaired guest injures a third party, the injured party can sue the host for damages under certain circumstances. This is important if the person who caused the accident or injury has little or no insurance. Laws vary from state to state but most states impose liability on social hosts where alcohol is served to a minor or the host was careless about serving alcohol to guests who were intoxicated. Hosts should never encourage guests to drink excessively. A little prevention and foresight can go a long way and may even save someone’s life. In 2009, in Florida there were 20,085 alcohol related traffic incidents that resulted in 1,004 dearth and 14,130 injuries. Don’t let your guest list add to those statistics. Be safe and practice safe drinking and driving.

Myths vs. Facts About Drinking and Driving (Source MADD)

Myth: Coffee can sober up someone who has had too much to drink.
Fact: Only time sobers. It takes about one hour to oxidize each drink.

Myth: Hard liquor is more intoxicating than beer or wine.
Fact: A 12-ounce can of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler contain the same amount of alcohol and the same intoxication potential as 1-1/2 oz. of liquor.

Myth: Someone who has had too much to drink will look intoxicated.
Fact: Someone’s physical appearance can be misleading. One drink can impair someone’s ability to drive. Judgment is the first thing affected when someone has been drinking and important motor skills are next.

LMW Sponsors Leadership Pasco Criminal Justice Day

CJDay1CJDay3For the past few years, Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. have sponsored, planned and chaired Leadership Pasco’s Criminal Justice Day. – The purpose of this program is to highlight the issues faced by law enforcement and the criminal justice system in Pasco County. This program provides an in-depth view of the challenges facing law enforcement officers today. The Leadership class participants in this day-long program comment on how much they learn about law enforcement in Pasco County and how much they didn’t know! “The behind the scenes view of law enforcement is one that is important which is why the sponsorship of this particular program is one that is significant for our firm,” says Attorney Craig Laporte.