Alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed under liquor legislation. Since each state has its own alcohol regulations, there may even be regional variations within the same state. An illustration of this would be the stringent regulations placed on the sale of alcohol in commercial areas. Additionally, some states may forbid selling alcohol on Sundays or during particular hours of the day.
Generally speaking, liquor laws regulate the following:
- Who is allowed to sell alcoholic beverages;
- Who is allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages;
- Where and when alcohol may be sold;
- Open container laws;
- Drinking and driving;
- Issuing liquor licenses; and
- Granting permits to serve alcohol.
Drinking at Bars and Other Places Where Alcohol is Served
An official document known as a “liquor license” enables a company to sell or serve alcoholic beverages in the state in which it is located. As was already established, the federal government, states, and municipal governments all strictly enforce liquor laws. In addition to allowing for the sale of alcohol, these licenses also specify who can purchase it, how much alcohol can be sold, where it can be sold, and when it can be served.
The application process for a liquor license is quite drawn out and time-consuming to prevent fraud. The application may be pricey, depending on where you plan to launch your firm. The quantity of establishments permitted to use these permits concurrently is also usually capped by towns and cities, known as a quota.
Putting in a request with the local authorities in your city would be the first step in applying for a liquor license. The application will often be discussed in a meeting that is open to the public, and participants have a right to voice their opinions about the application. The local council will be consulted about it.
After receiving approval from the local government, the application is then sent to the state for assessment. Your restaurant or business will ultimately receive a liquor license if the state government approves the application. The strict regulations governing alcohol mean that only some applications for a business license are accepted; this is particularly true for liquor licenses. A jurisdiction’s application may be turned down if it has reached the required number of licensed alcohol retailers.
Several municipal and state officials also review each application; as a result, if one component is incorrect, it could have an adverse effect. For instance, if a company has a history of unpaid taxes or fees, getting a license may be more difficult, or receiving a liquor license may take much longer.
If a Commercial Establishment Serves Alcohol to a Minor Who has an Accident, is it Still Responsible?
Dram Shop Laws have been passed in almost every state to allow anyone a drunken juvenile has hurt to sue the business that provided them with the alcohol. Serving alcohol to a juvenile is often a misdemeanor offense, and businesses that do so run the danger of losing their liquor license.
Dram Shop Laws also permit injured parties to file lawsuits against businesses that served a visibly drunk patron who later caused them harm.
What Must a Victim Show to Hold the Establishment Responsible?
A commercial establishment is required by law to request identification from a customer before supplying alcohol. If the victim can demonstrate that the bar knew (or should have known) that it was selling alcohol to an underage individual and that the alcohol was the accident’s primary cause, the bar or other business may be held responsible for the victim’s injuries.
Before an establishment can be held accountable for a third party’s injuries, several state statutes demand evidence that it knew it was serving a “clearly drunk adult.”
Sometimes, a victim can receive compensation without demonstrating that the business knew the patron was drunk. This implies that a business serving alcohol to a drunk customer may be partially responsible. The injured party must nevertheless demonstrate that the alcohol was the direct cause of their harm.
How Do You Define Proximate Cause?
A bar or business selling alcohol to a minor is said to have been the accident’s proximate cause, meaning there is a direct link between the sale of alcohol and the incident. For instance, if a business sells alcohol to a minor with knowledge and the minor has an accident on the way home before consuming the alcohol, the store is not the direct cause of the accident and is not responsible for any injuries that ensue.
Do Different Liquor Licenses Have Different Types?
Every state needs a different license since every state has different liquor laws. However, certain places will accept a regular “liquor license.” This can include any state-specific alcohol sales of that kind. Most frequently, a license will specify whether a company is allowed to sell alcohol for on-site consumption or consumption off-site.
Cities can frequently distinguish between sales of alcoholic beverages. For instance, a restaurant that only serves beer and wine could only require a particular Beer and Wine License rather than a full liquor license.
Depending on the type of company, some states demand a distinct category of liquor licenses. As an illustration, consider how businesses transporting alcoholic beverages and clubs, motels, and restaurants may each have a specific category of licenses.
Liquor licenses are frequently mentioned when discussing the operations of bars and restaurants. Retail stores that sell alcohol are also subject to liquor licenses, more specifically, a Retail License. Examples include liquor stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores.
What Takes Place If Alcohol Laws Are Broken?
A business must follow several rules and laws to obtain a liquor license. A business’s requirement to maintain and renew its liquor license regularly is an example of this. Without a proper license, serving or selling alcohol can result in business loss and, in very egregious cases, jail time. A company might be required to pay extra fees when renewing its liquor license.
Examples of liquor laws that have been broken include:
- Selling an alcoholic beverage that is not permitted by the license;
- Selling alcohol to an underage person;
- Bartenders overserving customers;
- Allowing open containers to leave the property; and
- Allowing staff to consume excessive amounts of alcohol after their shift.
An official accusation, which informs the proprietor of the laws they broke, is given to a business when it violates the conditions of its liquor license. The owner must also attend a hearing with the state’s alcohol-controlling official. A judge will decide if the license conditions were broken and whether corrective measures need to be taken.
A judge may impose several sanctions on a company if they are found to have broken the license’s requirements. The most typical instance of this is the temporary or permanent revocation of a company’s liquor license. It is typical for a restaurant to permanently lose its license if it serves alcohol to anyone under 21.
However, their license might be reinstated if the company fulfills certain requirements. A judge may impose additional sanctions in addition to fines and costs, or they may be the only ones.
Sometimes, errors in police procedures might be used to excuse infractions of the law on alcoholic beverages. However, some violations of alcohol laws fall under the strict liability category, which means that the person may be held accountable merely for the infringement. No matter what they knew or intended at the time, this would still be the case. A case in point would be selling alcohol to a minor, which is punishable even if the store owner was unaware that the customer was underage.
What Should You Do if You’re Being Sued for Serving a Minor?
You should see a lawyer right away to understand more about your rights, your defenses, and the complex legal system if you are accused of supplying alcohol to a juvenile or someone intoxicated when you served it to them, and they later hurt a third party.
You should contact a juvenile attorney immediately to find out how to receive compensation for your injuries after being hurt in a drunk driving, DUI/DWI, or other alcohol-related accident.