What are Tennessee Bartender Cut Off Laws?

In Tennessee, as in many other states, a bartender is required to cut off a customer who is visibly intoxicated. It is illegal for an establishment to continue serving a customer when they are obviously inebriated. The laws that govern this area are known as "dram shop laws "and they apply to bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages.  

Is an Establishment Held Liable in a DUI Accident?

In the event someone who has been drinking at a particular establishment causes an accident, the owner and its employees may be held liable. These laws also hold bars and restaurants liable for serving a minor who becomes intoxicated, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. However, unlike some other states, Tennessee does not extend this liability to people who serve alcohol at a party or in their own homes.

As an employee of a bar, it can sometimes be difficult to determine when someone has overindulged, reports WREG Memphis. A bartender has no way of knowing if a person has just come from another bar where they had already been drinking or if the person has been using other substances. Plus, even if a bartender remains aware and monitors a person’s intake and how he or she behaves, alcohol affects everyone differently.

Due to a lack of manpower, it is also extremely difficult for the government to enforce dram shop laws. In 2015, 633 citations were issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission for serving alcohol to minors. However, citations for over-serving adult drinkers were only issued to 10 businesses. While it is rare for dram shop laws to result in criminal charges, bars and bartenders may be sued in a civil action. In addition, the establishment may have its liquor license taken away or suspended, or it may receive monetary fines.


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