Being charged with a DUI in Virginia is a serious misdemeanor offense that can result in a permanent criminal record and other serious long-term consequences. You need to raise a strong defense to the charges to have them dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. If you were drinking in a bar or restaurant before being arrested, you may wonder if you can use dram shop laws as part of your defense. Dram law defense for a DUI

Dram Shop Laws and DUI Cases in Virginia

Dram shop laws are laws in some states that holds bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve and sell alcohol to intoxicated persons liable for compensating the victims of a drunk driving accident. While many states have dram shop laws, Virginia is one of the few states that does not. Additionally, dram shop liability cannot be raised as a defense in a DUI criminal case.

Social Host Laws in Virginia

Under social host laws, many states also hold individuals who serve alcohol to an intoxicated person liable for compensating the victims of a drunk driving accident. In Virginia, the social host laws are limited as follows:

  • Virginia does not have a social host law that provides for a social host’s civil liability in a drunk driving accident.
  • Social hosts in Virginia who serve alcohol to a minor under 21 may face criminal penalties for doing so.

Let Us Help You Build a Strong Defense

Although you may not be able to use dram shop laws as part of your DUI defense, you could have other strong defenses that result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a much less serious offense. Improper administration of field sobriety tests and challenges to blood alcohol content testing are just two defenses that may help you fight a DUI charge. To learn more about our experience and how we can assist you, call our office to schedule your free initial consultation.


Charles V. Hardenbergh
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