Bartenders’ Duty to Cut Off Service to Intoxicated Patrons

Servers who work for restaurants and bars that sell alcoholic beverages pursuant to an ABC permit are prohibited by G.S. 18B-305(a) from knowingly selling or giving alcoholic beverages to a person who is intoxicated.  Violation of this provision is a Class 1 misdemeanor and may result in suspension of the establishment’s ABC permit. In cases where overserving results in injury, the restaurant or bar also may be liable for the damages that result. I’ve often wondered how servers know when to say when. After all, they are engaged in the business of selling alcoholic beverages—drinks that affect the brain functioning of everyone who consumes them. When does the statutory duty override their business interests?

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