There is no question that one way to find one’s self facing serious criminal charges is to drink and drive. A drunk driving charge can result in substantial jail time, fines and serious damage to one’s reputation. However, when an individual is not the driver, but, instead, merely a person who bought the convicted drunk driver drinks on the night of the incident, the lines are more blurry.
This is precisely the case for one Texas resident who could now possibly face charges for buying a now convicted woman’s drink the night she was involved in a drunk driving accident, which resulted in the death of two teenagers. The woman was recently convicted for the deaths and sentenced to 38 years in prison.
Now, the state is turning toward the man recently identified as an individual buying her drinks the night of the accident. Until recently, prosecutors were unable to identify the man. Now, he is known as the man who potentially contributed to the event that resulted in the death of the two teenagers.
If the man is charged, it will be a first for Texas, where dram shop laws have applied only to the sellers of liquor in the past. A bar, bartender or bar owner can be held civilly liable for over-serving an individual, if such over service results in injury to another. Criminal charges have never been brought against another bar goer for buying an individual drinks.
If the man is charged, it could be a stretch of Texas’ law where nothing is on point expressly prohibiting the purchase of another’s legal alcoholic beverage. In any event, this case demonstrates the murkiness within the law and the need for an experienced attorney.
Source: Dallas Observer, “In Texas, You Can Face Criminal Charges for Buying a Woman a Drink,” Amy Silverstein, Aug. 7, 2013.