Can You Face Criminal Charges for Letting a Friend Drive Drunk?

Driving under the influence of alcohol can have a devastating impact on both your life and the lives of those around you. Although you may know better than to drive while under the influence, what if someone else is putting themselves and others in danger? Can you face criminal charges for letting a friend drive drunk? 


The answer is yes, you can. In most states, including Florida, allowing someone else to drive while under the influence of alcohol could constitute a criminal offense. Furthermore, you can be held legally accountable for their actions if they cause any subsequent damages or injuries. 


Our experienced DUI attorneys at Stechschulte Nell will guide you through the process of how these charges can occur and what they may include. Never let your friends drive drunk, no matter what they may tell you.  



What is Culpable Negligence 


According to Florida Statutes 784.05, if a person willfully fails to act in such a way that puts someone else at risk of damage or injury, they could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor crime. This law serves as a warning for all individuals: the consequences of negligent behavior can have lasting repercussions.  


In the case of allowing someone to drive drunk, if you have knowledge that they are impaired and then choose to let them get behind the wheel, you could be found guilty of culpable negligence in Florida. If convicted, penalties may include jail time, fines, and court-mandated community service. 


Although it is uncommon to be charged with culpable negligence in a DUI case, law enforcement can do so if they have a good reason to believe that someone intentionally allowed another person to drive while inebriated.


Have you been wrongfully convicted of culpable negligence for someone else’s DUI?  Reach out to the knowledgeable attorneys at Stechschulte Nell right away. We understand that mistakes happen, and we are here to help you find the best outcome for your case.  


Examples of Culpable Negligence 


So, how exactly can you be found guilty of assisting someone in being able to drive intoxicated?  


Here are a few of the most common ways:  


  • Allowing someone intoxicated to drive your vehicle 
  • Giving the keys to a vehicle to someone who is intoxicated 
  • Encouraging someone who is clearly intoxicated to drive 
  • Providing alcohol or means to obtain more alcohol to an overly-intoxicated person who may get behind the wheel 


These cases are frequently handled on an individual basis, therefore it depends on the circumstances of each case whether or not someone can be implicated or prosecuted for aiding the driver in committing their crimes. Many factors come to play in cases such as these making it potentially difficult to navigate on your own.  


How to Prevent a Friend from Driving Drunk 


If you find yourself in a situation where you suspect a friend may be too intoxicated to drive, several proactive steps can be taken:  


Check their keys: If they have the keys on them, take them away or hide them. They may be upset at the moment, but the safety of your friend and uninvolved civilians on the road is far more important. 


Call a cab or order a rideshare: Have your friend call for a taxi or order an Uber/Lyft. In today’s day and age, there is NO excuse for drunk driving. In some cases, insurance companies will even reimburse the cost of a cab ride if taken to prevent an accident. 


Find someone else who is sober If you have other friends or family members in your group, enlist them to drive. It only takes one person to make the right decision. 


Offer them a place to stay until they are sober:  Give your friend a ride home in the morning after they spent the night at your house or a nearby hotel. It is not a good idea to let them ‘sleep it off in the car’; they can end up with a DUI charge for being impaired and sleeping in the vehicle 


The potential consequences of letting someone drive drunk are serious and real. In addition to being held legally accountable for culpable negligence, you run the risk of gravely harming or killing your friend and other innocent people. Make sure you do your part to prevent an unnecessary tragedy from occurring.  


Learn More > Debunked: Florida DUI Myths & Facts 


What to Do if Facing Criminal Charges 


Suppose you have found yourself to be facing culpable negligence charges or other DUI-related charges. In that case, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the legal process. Stechschulte Nell has years of experience in DUI defense and will fight for the best possible outcome for your case. 


Our defense lawyers provide personalized attention to ensure that we take all necessary steps in fighting for your rights. If you have been charged with a crime, our experienced legal team is here to help. We understand the seriousness of any criminal charge and are here to answer your questions and provide resources to ensure you are informed.  


Contact Stechschulte Nell today for a free DUI case review.  

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