Can You Lose a Liquor License for Serving Minors?

Obtaining a liquor license is not a simple process, and there are strict rules and regulations that need to be followed in every state once a license is secured. The rules and regulations can vary from state to state, even from city to city.

Most states punish the sale of alcohol to minors as a misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of selling or providing alcohol to a minor usually faces a range of penalties.

Fines→Jail→Probation→Liquor license revocation

  • Fines: Fines are a common penalty for anyone convicted of selling alcohol to a minor. The amount of the fine varies broadly but can be as much as several thousand dollars per violation.
  • Jail: Misdemeanor offenses are defined as those that have a potential penalty of up to one year in a local jail or state prison. Providing alcohol to an underage person may result in a jail sentence of up to a year, a much lighter sentence, or no jail at all. The circumstances of the case and state law will determine what sentences are appropriate.
  • Probation: In lieu of, or in addition to, a jail sentence, a court may impose a probation sentence for a conviction of selling alcohol to a minor. Probation terms typically last six to 12 months, though they can be longer. Someone on probation must usually regularly report to a probation officer and meet other specific requirements as imposed by the court. Failing to comply with any requirement may result in a court ordering the convicted person to jail.
  • Liquor license revocation: When licensed organizations sell alcohol to minors, either intentionally or unintentionally, they may lose their liquor license.

There several ways business, such a bar or restaurant, can lose its liquor license that is common to every state. Serving alcohol to minors is the most common reason for getting a liquor license revoked. A lost liquor license can mean the difference between success and failure of a business.

The most important strategy for preventing problems is rigorously checking IDs when selling alcoholic beverages. Some states may even encourage servers or bartenders to ask the individual questions if it is suspected that personal identification may be falsified or that the ID belongs to another person. Establishments that do not check the identification of individuals who appear to 30 or younger are at risk for losing their liquor license, but also the health and safety of young people.


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