There is an aspect of the law in Connecticut that many people might not know even exists. As in many other states, a person can be arrested on charges related to drunk driving by someone else. It used to be that most people wouldn't think to let someone they care about get behind the wheel of a car in a drunken state. Times have changed. Now, it can be illegal to do so.
When a person who is driving while intoxicated is involved in an accident, the clean record of someone who knew that person was too drunk to drive can change in an instant. Two Connecticut teens were recently arrested on misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment. They allegedly didn't stop a highly intoxicated friend from driving, and the 17-year-old was killed when she crashed her car.
Notably, neither of the teens arrested was the host of a party serving alcohol to the victim. Also according to the investigation, neither one was in the car at the time of the accident. What this shows is that in Connecticut, as well as a growing number of other states, a person can be charged in an accident caused by a drunk driver simply by not stopping him or her from driving.
Civil liability questions are now raised as well. What happens when the inaction of an innocent bystander to stop a friend or even a stranger from driving with a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit is claimed to be contributory to an accident?
People likely care enough to do their best to keep a drunk friend off the road. But the legal obligation that exists makes it even more essential. When faced with arrest, careful review of the facts is needed to determine if a duty to the driver existed. Was the bystander complicit in the intoxication in the first place or simply an observer? Once this is fully understood, the proper defense can be decided upon and prepared.
Source: CBS Local, "Allowing Someone Drunk to Drive May Result in Your Arrest" Amy E. Feldman, Jan. 09, 2014