According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Mexico is one of 30 states with statutory provisions that hold licensed drinking establishments, such as liquor stores, bars and restaurants, liable for selling alcohol to drunk drivers who kill and injure. This is to discourage dram shops from over-serving patrons.


If you were injured by a drunk driver, then you should not have to pay for health-care bills, time off work and other losses out of your own pocket. There may be several liable parties including the at-fault driver and possibly the dram shop that served the driver alcohol.

Brian K. Branch is an Albuquerque car accident attorney who can evaluate your crash, gather evidence, identify the liable parties and guide you through the claims process. He offers free initial consultations.

Call the Law Office of Brian K. Branch, PC at 505-207-4401 to discuss your legal options. Until then, read on to learn the answers to two FAQs about New Mexico’s dram shop liability laws:

To whom can dram shops not sell alcohol?

According to the New Mexico Compilation Commission, licensed liquor establishments cannot sell alcohol to obviously drunk people. If you were injured due to a drunk driver who was over-served at a dram shop, your car accident attorney will have to show how the dram shop demonstrated negligence in selling the alcohol.

New Mexico dram shop laws include provisions for minors. If the establishment sells alcohol to a minor, it is liable for any injuries that he or she suffers or causes others because of the illegal purchase. Dram shops that sell alcohol to minors can lose their liquor license, and the liable parties may face criminal charges.

If an over-served patron causes a car accident that injures another person, can that person sue the dram shop?

Dram shops are not always responsible for the actions of their patrons. For this reason, they are not necessarily liable for the damages that result from a drunk driving accident involving a patron. However, if the dram shop sold alcohol to an obviously drunk person, and the victims of the accident can prove this, then they may be able to make a claim against the dram shop for their health-care bills, time off work and other losses.

In New Mexico, juries can assign a percentage of liability to several parties. Therefore, the intoxicated driver who caused the accident will probably be responsible for paying a percentage of the damages. The dram shop may have to pay the remaining percentage.

Victims of drunk driving accidents often face overwhelming debt due to medical expenses and lost income. If you were injured by a drunk driver, then you may be able to recover these damages via a civil claim.

As an Albuquerque personal-injury attorney, Brian K. Branch can investigate your case and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf. Our firm’s primary areas of focus include serious personal injury, premises liability, products liability, oilfield accidents, wrongful death and insurance bad faith. Call 505-207-4401 to schedule a consultation.