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District Attorney Announces New Criminal Charges in Drunk Driving Case

Criminal charges have been filed against a bartender and others in connection with a drunk driving accident that claimed the lives of Shayla Joseph and her 3-month-old son Braylan Joseph, according to ABC-13 News.  Prosecutor Sean Teare, Vehicular Crimes Division Chief at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, announced charges against Devin Jackson and John Medina for furnishing alcohol to a minor, as well as charges against Amy Allen for criminal negligence in allowing a minor to consume alcohol on a licensed premises. Allen was described as a bartender at Crescent City Connection Bar and Grill.

Intoxication manslaughter charges were previously filed against Veronica Rivas, the driver alleged to have caused the crash.

District Attorney Kim Ogg stated about “We are ground zero for alcohol-related car crashes and deaths in the United States.”

Texas Law On Civil Liability for Alcohol Providers in Drunk Driving Crashes

In 1987, the Texas Legislature passed a law called the Dram Shop Act to “deter providers of alcoholic beverages from serving alcoholic beverages to obviously intoxicated individuals who may potentially inflict serious injury on themselves and on innocent members of the general public,” according to the Texas Supreme Court in the Smith v. Sewell case (1993).

An alcohol provider can be liable for damages under the Dram Shop Act if the provider served the alcoholic beverage to an obviously intoxicated recipient and the intoxication of that individual proximately caused the damages suffered.

Texas Law On Civil Damages for Drunk Driving Victims and Their Families and Deadline to File Suit

Damages that could be recovered from an alcohol provider who is found liable in a civil suit include funeral bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. The deadline to file a civil suit under the Dram Shop Act is two years from the date of the accident.

For more information on the Dram Shop Act and other issues regarding drunk driving laws, contact attorney J. Javier Gutierrez.