Within the context of dui incidents, peripheral issues and parties can sometimes be unwittingly exposed to adverse legal culpability.
A sizeable number of drunk driving prosecutions involve other individuals either being driven by one accused of impairment, or as will discussed below, involve other individuals who have either furnished alcoholic beverages to the accused or are otherwise implicated in contributing to unlawful driving activity through the usage of drugs and/or alcohol.
A recent case winding its way through the justice system in Indiana is one that can send shockwaves through the general public and may hinder those good people eager to asisst those drivers in need of assistance on our roadways.
The case involves an individual who had apparently suffered from a flat tire while driving within a bank parking lot. Allegations are that bank employees graciously offered and did assist the driver in changing the flat tire so as to enable the driver to continue driving off of bank property and ultimately back on a public thoroughfare. In short, these decent people did no more than assist one in need.
As fate would have it, the individual driving the vehicle in question would later allegedly be involved in a traffic accident where another person had claimed to be injured.
As a result of the claimed injuries a civil lawsuit was commenced against the driver. However, what is most significant about the legal action taken is that the lawyer for the plaintiff chose to direct legal action against the bank as well as the alleged impaired motorist.
The legal theory in question being that had it not been for the actions of the bank employees within this matter, the alleged intoxicated driver would never have been able to leave the bank parking lot to later injure his agrieved client.
The pending lawsuit is curious in that it is hard to grasp the specific cause of action by which the lawyer has fundementally rested his assertions. For example, should his lawsuit prevail is the lesson to be conveyed that it is incumbent upon all citizens to become accurate assessors of potential intoxicated drivers within our midst?
If so, what are the legal obligations of good samaritans to report or more importantly detect criminal conduct?
More disturbing within the fact pattern present is the recognition that the alleged breath test result in this instance was a tad above .05, a test reading below the presumptive legal limit of .08 within the state of Indiana and all other states.
Unkown to many within the general public is that within this state, one can be held accountable for impairment through use of a motor vehicle at a reading as low as.05 bac. (juveniles can be subject to legal sanction if merely operating a vehicle at an even lower amount). However, it stands to reason that in such circumstances it should be the observation and determination of trained law enforcement that can enunciate the specific rationale by which public policy should allow for isolated cases by which an arrest is forthcoming for one testing below the presumptive legal limit of .08.
While I am confident that ultimately the assertions against bank employees in this lawsuit will not prevail, the fundemental lessons to be learned are readily apparent. Those lessons are that for family, friends or good samaritans who come into contact or are otherwise associated with one accused of impaired driving activity, one must be extremely mindful of one’s own legal standing.
As such, all citizens, whether friends or strangers to one accused of criminal driving activity must always be vigilant and on guard as to how your own conscious, sober actions can contribute to any potential harm that can result from your association with an accused motorist who represents a threat to the safety of the general public.