As your New Year’s Eve party draws close, make sure you focus on more than just the food, décor, and entertainment. Every year, hundreds of people across Texas are charged with drunk driving. Many arrests are made late at night when people are returning from New Year’s Eve parties.
Rest assured, if you host a party in your home, you are not legally liable for someone who leaves your party intoxicated and gets into an accident. That statute falls under the Texas Dram Shop Act, which applies only to licensed alcohol providers.
But what is legal under the law doesn’t always guide you morally. You do have a moral responsibility to ensure that your guests are safe and don’t cause harm to others as a result of drinking too much at your party. As you shoulder your hosting responsibilities, keep your guests’ safety and protection in mind. In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at four ways to prevent your guests from getting charged with DWI.
1. Hand out “I’m Driving” Cards
Many hosts have started using this trick, and it works exceptionally well. Each time a couple or group shows up to your party, ask them who the designated driver is. They may have made transportation arrangements already, e.g., they’re using a ride-share app like Lyft or Uber or they have a driver picking them up.
If they haven’t, offer the designated driver an “I’m driving” card that they carry with them. This card won’t signify much since they won’t “wear” it around the party—that would be absurd—but it will serve as a gentle reminder that they’re supposed to be sober throughout the night.
You can also collect the cards and hand them out as a final reminder when people head home.
2. Serve Plenty of Food
In Texas, it is not illegal to drink alcohol then drive as long as you are not intoxicated. Eating before you drink helps absorb the alcohol that you’re about to ingest. This is for guests who plan on drinking in moderation. But what is a great party without food anyway? Be sure to have plenty of snacks, including hors d’oeuvres that are rich in carbohydrates, since they absorb more alcohol than proteins or fruits and vegetables.
3. Stop Serving Alcohol Roughly an Hour Before Your Party Ends
This rule should be followed strictly at every holiday party. Make sure the alcohol supply is cut off at least one hour (or possibly one and a half hours) before your party is scheduled to end. There should be lots of delicious nonalcoholic beverages to keep your guests happy.
4. Have Backup Drivers on Hand
It’s possible that one of the designated drivers ends up drunk. Many different scenarios could occur at the last minute. Make sure you have backup drivers on hand for guests who need last-minute arrangements.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that these drivers are sober. Additionally, you can also make sleeping arrangements for guests who may have to stay overnight.
Looking for an experienced, qualified, and detail-oriented DWI lawyer in the Greater Houston area? Attorney JL Carpenter should be your first call. She builds a strong, aggressive case for her clients in Friendswood, Clear Lake, Houston, and other parts of Texas.