Can You Face Charges for Letting a Friend Drive Drunk?

two men cheersing beers and smiling

Many people know someone that is adamant they are fine to drive after drinking alcohol. Perhaps it’s the cost of rideshare, the inconvenience of leaving their car, or another factor that pushes people to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you witness someone doing this and don’t stop them, could you be charged with a crime? Let’s discuss.

Liability for Allowing Drunk Driving

In California, DUI laws only penalize the person who is driving under the influence. In other words, you cannot be charged with a crime for allowing someone to drive drunk or being a drunk driver's passenger.

The only exception would be if someone provided alcohol to a minor and allowed them to drive drunk. Then, they may be subject to criminal or civil legal action. However, when it comes to standard DUIs, bystanders are not liable for the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel.

Helping Keep Your Friend Safe

Although you are not at risk when letting your friend drive under the influence, your friend certainly is. It’s best to take action to persuade them not to drive or prevent them from driving. While they may be upset in the short-term, you could save them from criminal charges or bodily harm.

Here are some tips for how to keep your friend from deciding to drive:

  • Be assertive: Take a firm tone and tell them they cannot drive at this time.
  • Offer an alternative: If you are sober, offer to drop them off at their house. If you are the party host, offer to let them stay overnight. Look for a solution that does not involve them operating a vehicle.
  • Take their keys: They cannot leave if they don’t have their keys. If your friend is adamant about driving, this may be the best solution.
  • Discuss the risks: Remind your friend that both DUI charges and accidents have numerous risks that could affect them forever. Remind them that it is not worth the risk.

DUI Charges in Fresno

If you or a loved one was recently charged with DUI, our team at Schweitzer & Davidian is ready to help. We understand that this is a frightening situation, but with our attorneys by your side, you can feel confident in your defense. Discuss your arrest and charges with our team today, call (559) 206-2322.

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