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New California Law: Assembly Bill 711

DUI lawyerPrior to January 1st of this year, 44 states permitted liquor and alcohol manufacturers and sellers to provide their customers with free or discounted rides to ensure they got home safely; California was not one of these states. As of this year, however, the Golden State has joined the ranks of other safety-conscious states by relaxing the existing laws and allowing alcohol manufacturers and sellers to put the protection of their consumers first.

What Took So Long?

There’s a fine line between vouchers and codes being seen as incentives to buy a company’s product versus corporate responsibility. Although these two things seem as far removed as anything possibly could be, in the world of alcohol, olive branches toward safety can easily be seen as marketing tactics. Most of the time, that’s because they probably are, but when it comes to public safety, lawmakers have finally decided free rides are more meaningful than any marketing message a brand may be sending.

Before this law went into effect, alcohol licensees were only permitted to offer discounts and swag of inconsequential value in California (think koozies and keychains). Some liquor and wine manufacturers were able to get away with paying for rides if they were hosting private, invitation-only events, but in general, the practice was strictly forbidden.

When assemblyman Evan Low introduced this act, he was met by opposition from Alcohol Justice and the California Council on Alcohol Problems—among others—for fear the legislation would actually promote drinking more, rather than putting fewer drunk drivers on the road.

With endorsements from Lyft and several alcohol manufacturers, the law passed the Legislature unanimously late last year and is currently in effect.

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How Does Assembly Bill 711 Change Things?

As of this year, the following types of alcohol-involved businesses are permitted to grant consumers free ground transportation home after invite-only events:

  • Manufacturers of distilled spirits
  • Distilled spirits manufacturers’ agents
  • Out-of-state distilled spirits shippers’ certificates holders
  • Winegrowers
  • Rectifiers
  • Distillers
  • Authorized unlicensed agents of distillers of any of the aforementioned entities

Additionally, beer manufacturers are now permitted to provide free or discounted rides “for the purpose of furthering public safety.”

Long story short, this is just another way to keep the roads safer. With discounted or free rides now available for people who consume alcohol, fewer drunk drivers should be on the roadways, making driving a safer activity for everyone who needs to get from here to there.

Never get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking! If you don’t have promo codes and free rides available via Assembly Bill 711, opt for a Lyft, Uber, or taxi to avoid the expensive penalties that could happen if you’re caught drinking and driving. That said, if you’ve already been arrested, it’s important to reach out to an experienced California DUI attorney right away. Call Jon Artz at (310) 820-1315 if you’re facing a DUI in Los Angeles.


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