First, we can all agree that no one should sell alcohol to a minor. It is not good for the minor or society as a whole. That is why selling alcohol to a minor is a criminal offense. However, selling alcohol to a minor is also a strike against the alcohol license in California, even if the owner of the license had no involvement or even knowledge of the sale.
A strike on the license has become even more important due to what appears to be a shift in the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s policy. Before the past year, ABC used its discretion on a case-by-case basis to determine a just penalty for the owner of the license.
However, the recent decisions from ABC indicate a shift to just strictly enforcing the three strikes law and revoking the license no matter what the underlying facts show. The ABC Appeals Board in a recent decision (AB-9602) expressed its frustration with the new “draconian” policy of punishment instead of seeking compliance in every third-strike case. If you want a copy of the Appeals Board decision, just email me and I will send you a copy.
So below are five simple steps that will help reduce the chance of selling alcohol to a minor.
1) Always, and I mean always, check IDs. If it is a vertical ID, the odds are that it belongs to a minor.
2) Check the date of birth, compare the description, compare the photo. If the ID does not match the person, don’t sell!
3) Feel the ID. If the ID does not feel like the ID issued to you by the State of California, is expired, or frayed, don’t sell!
4) Always, and I mean always, ask the purchaser for their date of birth or if they are over 21. If they say they are not 21, don’t sell!
5) Ask for a second ID (an ATM card, credit card, or college ID) and compare the name. Does the name match? If not, don’t sell!
With the new ABC policy of strictly enforcing the three strikes law, even one strike is a strike too many. So, if the person looks too young, it is most likely that the person is too young. If you have any doubt, don’t sell!