A recent fatality stemming from drinking and driving underscores the dual criminal law and civil liability dangers associated with mixing alcohol and driving.
An 18 year-old youth, Max Haberman, was killed in a Sudbury Massachusetts car crash last month. He had reportedly been drinking prior to the accident at the home of a 19 year-old, a Timothy Jarrett of Sudbury. According to the Sudbury, Massachusetts Police Department, Jarrett had hosted an under-age drinking party, where Haberman was identified as being present and consuming alcohol. As a result, Jarrett was charged with violating what is known as the Massachusetts Social Host Law. This law provides for criminal penalties against someone under 21 years of age to possess alcohol on his property. Legally, this means that in addition to facing criminal charges, Jarrett and/or his parents (presumably the owners of the property where the party was held,) will be exposed to civil liability in connection with Haberman’s death. Haberman was killed when the Mercedes SUV he was driving slammed into trees in the woods off Dutton Road in Sudbury.
This is all very tragic, and it underscores the continuing message: 1) Do not drive if you have been drinking; and 2) If you serve alcohol at a social function in your home, and someone attending that function becomes intoxicated and later injures (or kills) someone when driving after the function, you can be held civilly liable for a victim’s Massachusetts personal injuries resulting from that guest’s drunk driving. Always be aware: A guest need not be “falling down drunk”, or even visibly impaired, in order to be legally drunk when leaving your function. If you wish to hold a social event at your home and intend to serve alcohol, always call an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving lawyer before you hold such an event. Important legal issues and precautions must be taken to safeguard not only the lives of persons who might be injured by and guests that leave your function legally impaired, but extremely important proactive legal measures must be taken to protect your legal and financial interests.
At our practice, we address both the criminal and civil liability aspects of alcohol-related events and accidents. Contact us if you either plan on hosting an event at your home or office where alcohol will be served, if you have been arrested for drunk driving, or if you have been injured by a drunk driver. We have over twenty years of experience in this field of law, and we can provide you the expert counsel you need.