People who are arrested for driving while impaired (DWI, commonly referred to as driving under the influence or DUI in other jurisdictions) in Minnesota not only face criminal charges, but also can be held civilly liable for damages when they caused accidents resulting in bodily injury or death. In certain cases, parties other than the drunk driver may also be liable to victims for damages.
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in crash caused by a drunk driver in Minnesota, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. JD Haas & Associates represents clients all over the greater Bloomington area of Minnesota. Call (952) 345-1025 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Drunk Driving Laws in Minnesota
A person generally commits a DWI offense in Minnesota if he or she drives while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Other drivers can be charged with drunk driving crimes for lower alcohol concentrations.
Commercial drivers are prohibited from operating vehicles while having alcohol concentrations of 0.04 or more. Additionally, individuals under 21 years of age can be arrested when there is physical evidence of any alcohol consumption present in their bodies.
It is important to understand a criminal case and a civil case are two separate matters. Thus, a person who is acquitted or otherwise avoids a DWI conviction may still be held civilly liable for damages arising from a drunk driving crash.
Bar and Restaurant Liability in Minnesota
A drunk driver may not be the only party that bears civil liability for damages arising from drunk driving crashes in Minnesota. The state’s “dram shop” law, Minnesota Statute § 340A.801, allows victims to pursue civil claims against parties that “illegally” sold alcoholic beverages to the individuals who went on to drive the motor vehicles that caused accidents.
The phrase illegally selling alcoholic beverages applies to instances in which alcohol is sold or served to minors and instances in which alcohol is sold to a visibly intoxicated person. Bars, restaurants, and other licensed vendors of alcoholic beverages are usually the most common kinds of defendants in dram shop claims.
Social Host Liability in Minnesota
The Minnesota dram shop law applies only to licensed vendors of alcoholic beverages. Victims generally cannot pursue claims against so-called “social hosts,” or private individuals who serve alcohol to guests at private functions.
One important exception, however, applies to people 21 years of age or older who furnish alcoholic beverages to minors who cause drunk driving accidents. In such cases, social hosts can be held liable.
Find a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Minnesota
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver in Minnesota? You will want to contact JD Haas & Associates as soon as possible.
Our Bloomington personal injury attorney will fight to help you obtain every last dollar of compensation you are entitled to. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you contact us online or call (952) 345-1025 today.