Liquor laws govern the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Each state has its own liquor laws, and liquor laws may even differ from region to region within the state. For instance, the sale of alcohol in business zones is highly regulated; the sale of alcohol may be prohibited on Sundays or during certain times of the day.
Generally speaking, liquor laws govern:
- Who can sell alcoholic beverages
- Who can buy alcoholic beverages
- Where liquor can be sold, and at what times
- Drinking and driving or DUI laws, as well as other crimes such as open container laws
- Issuing liquor licenses and licenses to serve alcohol
- Drinking at bars and other alcohol-centered venues
What Happens if a Liquor Law is Violated?
Violations of liquor laws can result in various legal penalties, including a fine or a citation. Some more serious violations can result in misdemeanor charges, which may also be accompanied by some jail time.
A business found violating liquor laws may temporarily or permanently lose its liquor license. This often occurs when a business is caught selling alcohol to minors.
Are There Any Defenses to Liquor Law Violations?
This will depend on the facts in each case, but there can be many different defenses in the event of a liquor law violation. For instance, mistakes in police procedure can sometimes serve as a defense.
On the other hand, some liquor law violations are strict liability violations, meaning that the person might be held liable simply for the action, regardless of their knowledge or intentions at the time. An example of this is the sale of alcohol to minors, which can be punished even if the shop owner did not know the person was a minor.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Liquor Laws?
Liquor laws can sometimes involve complex legal ideas. Also, liquor laws can be very different from place to place. You may wish to hire a qualified criminal lawyer if you need help understanding the liquor laws in your area. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice for your questions, and can also represent you in court if you need to participate in a lawsuit of any kind.