Being a bartender is a lot more than just pouring drinks and collecting tips at the end of the night. Bartenders are superheroes, ensuring the fine line that leads to a New York DWI is not crossed while enabling a fun, relaxing time with friends. When that line is crossed in some states, a bartender could be held liable if something bad happens at the hands of a drunk driver. In New York, bartenders are given an interesting limit to their superpowers: they cannot refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women.
We all know that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix, especially large amounts of alcohol. If you ask women who are currently pregnant, or who have children, they may tell you their obstetrician or midwife said a glass of wine was okay to drink from time to time, particularly toward the end of the pregnancy. But, in early 2016, the CDC released its recommendations for pregnant women, and for those who could possibly get pregnant: no alcohol. None. Not because of drunk driving, the risk of a car breathalyzer (ignition interlock) or jail time. But because there’s no actual way to tell just how much alcohol is bad when there’s a pregnancy, and babies are still being born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
So, what’s a bartender to do when a pregnant woman (or, even a woman of childbearing age) bellies up to a New York bar and orders a Cosmo? The law says you cannot refuse to serve the lady. Plus, a bartender (or other server) can be held responsible for her actions once she consumes the drink(s) that were served. That includes any DWI-related property damage, injury or deaths.
Not all superheroes wear capes, but we have to applaud our bartenders for successfully navigating the complicated New York DWI and alcohol laws and still having time for a friendly word.