Category archives for “Sale to Minor”

2011 New Year’s Resolutions: Employee Training on Sales to Minors

December 17, 2010

If it’s not already there, move employee training to the top of the resolution list for 2011. In January, California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) will begin awarding grants to local law enforcement agencies to continue the implementation of Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap programs. The operational period for the grants and this round of programs will run from February 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. California law enforcement has been using the Minor Decoy program since the 1980s. For details on the Minor Decoy program, see our prior post here. The Shoulder Tap program is a newer program where an underage individual working with the police asks adults near alcohol retailers to purchase alcohol for the individual. The grants for this cycle of programming range from $2,500 to $10,000. While employee training is always important, given the likelihood of increased enforcement beginning in February 2011, now is a good time to review, revise, and update policies and make sure employees understand the consequences of selling to minors.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2010 · All Rights Reserved ·


ABC VIOLATION ROUND-UP: Purchase by True Minor

August 20, 2010

The California ABC actively enforces the alcoholic beverage laws of the state. We’ll be posting a series of “ABC Violation Round-Up” items discussing some of the violations we have seen in recent enforcement actions.

This week….. sale to a true minor.

The Violation: You cannot sell or serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age in California. The ABC is constantly visiting retailers to make sure this law is enforced. Violations of the law can occur two ways; via a law enforcement decoy sting or via sale to a “true” minor. We covered decoy stings in an earlier post.

How to Avoid It: Identification must be requested if there is any question regarding the age of a person requesting access to alcohol. Licensees and their staff must be trained in proper review of identification. Any identification presented must be bona fide, and must match the person presenting it. It is common for ABC investigators to stake-out parking lots at off-sale retailers and follow-up with any young-looking people exiting the retailer with alcohol in tow. It is also common for the ABC to visit on-sale retailers or winery tasting rooms and check the identification of young-looking people with alcohol. In college areas, it is not uncommon for investigators to enter a licensed business and request identification from every patron.

Did the Minor Present Bona Fide ID? Reliance on bona fide proof of majority is a defense under Business and Professions Code Section 25660, but it is very difficult to prove in the case of a true minor because the licensee must prove that reliance on the identification was reasonable, and it is difficult to prove reliance on the identification if you don’t have a copy of it. If this is a possible defense for your business, be sure you record every known detail regarding the presented identification.

Will the Minor be Present at the Hearing? The minor must show up at the hearing on the accusation against your license for the accusation to move forward.

Statute: California Business and Professions Code § 25658

Standard Penalty: 15 day suspension for 1st offense, 25 day suspension for 2nd offense within 36 months, license revocation for 3rd offense within 36 months. Fines can typically be paid for the first two “strikes” in lieu of serving a suspension. The fine for the first strike is capped at $3,000, and raised to $20,000 for the second strike.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.


ABC VIOLATION ROUND-UP: Purchase by Minor Decoy

August 12, 2010

The California ABC actively enforces the alcoholic beverage laws of the state. We’ll be posting a series of “ABC Violation Round-Up” items discussing some of the violations we have seen in recent enforcement actions.

This week…. sale to a minor decoy.

The Violation: You cannot sell or serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age in California. The ABC is constantly visiting retailers to make sure this law is enforced. Violations of the law can occur two ways; via a law enforcement decoy sting or via sale to a “true” minor. This post covers law enforcement decoy stings, which are run by the ABC or by a local law enforcement agency. In a decoy sting, a minor (19 years of age or younger) will visit your premise under law enforcement supervision and attempt to purchase alcohol. We will cover sales to a “true” minor in a later post.

How to Avoid It: Identification must be requested if there is any question regarding the age of a person requesting access to alcohol. Licensees and their staff must be trained in proper review of identification. Any identification presented must be bona fide, and must match the person presenting it. Minor decoys are required to answer questions about their age truthfully, so if you ask a decoy “Are you 21 or over?” they are obliged to say no. Decoys are also required to be 19 years of age or younger, and are required to present their true identification or none at all. It is common for a decoy to confidently present their true ID and trip-up a server who is not careful. Servers must be trained to check the red “Age 21 in 20__” indicator on every ID presented to them. Recently, ABC stings at on-sale premises have involved two decoys working in tandem.

Statute: California Business and Professions Code § 25658, ABC Rule 141

Standard Penalty: 15 day suspension for 1st offense, 25 day suspension for 2nd offense within 36 months, license revocation for 3rd offense within 36 months. Fines can typically be paid for the first two “strikes” in lieu of serving a suspension. The fine for the first strike is capped at $3,000, and raised to $20,000 for the second strike.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.


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