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Irish pubs across Orlando will be serving up gallons of green beer on March 17 as thousands of revelers take to the streets in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s one of the biggest parties across America, a day when everyone is considered Irish as they honor the patron saint of Ireland. Orlando even has a website dedicated to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the best places to party in town.
But the revelry can get out of hand if it leads people to drink and drive. Drunk-driving crashes killed 877 people in Florida in 2012, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
A drunk driver who injures or kills someone in a car accident can face criminal charges. Even a party host or bar that lets an obviously intoxicated person continue throwing back green beers or shots of Irish whiskey may be liable under Florida’s dram shop laws. However, the dram shop laws are limited, and it is difficult for an injured person to hold a bar or individual liable.
Typically, restaurants, bars and party hosts can be held liable only if they served alcohol to a person under 21 or someone who was known to be “habitually addicted” to alcohol. Otherwise, a server or restaurant would have to be recklessly negligent in order to face criminal charges.
If you are putting on a party this St. Patrick’s Day, take these simple steps.
St. Patrick’s Day should be a joyous occasion, not one filled with tragedy. Celebrate safely, stay alert for drunk drivers and if you are in an accident caused by a drunk driver, understand your legal options.