Currently, 47 states and the District of Columbia prohibit sales to obviously intoxicated persons (Florida, Nevada, and Wyoming are the only exceptions). Despite these laws, alcohol sales to obviously intoxicated patrons in on-premise establishments, such as bars, continue to occur 58 to 85 percent of the time.
A study in the May 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research confirms that the likelihood of alcohol sales to obviously intoxicated patrons in both on- and off-premise establishments (such as liquor stores) is very high, and that younger servers/clerks are significantly less likely to withhold service.
“This study confirms what other studies have found, that sales to obviously intoxicated customers in on-premise establishments is highly likely,” said Traci L. Toomey, assistant professor in the division of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and first author of the study. “Additionally, this study also shows that these types of illegal alcohol sales may be even more likely at off-premise establishments.”
Trained actors posing as intoxicated patrons attempted to purchase alcohol at 223 on-premise and 132 off-premise establishments in 11 communities in a large Midwestern metropolitan area during a 10-month period beginning in September 1999. In addition to recording whether or not an establishment sold alcohol to a “buyer,” researchers also collected data regarding the perceived age and gender of the server/clerk, the surrounding area (commercial or residential), exterior maintenance, type of license (limited or full), whether or not warnings about drinking & driving were posted, and time of the purchase attempt.
“Nearly 8 out of every ten establishments sold alcohol to someone very obviously intoxicated,” said Toomey. She was not surprised by the results; nor was James F. Mosher, director of the Center for the Study of Law and Enforcement Policy at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
“Anecdotal reports from researchers, Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) trainers, law enforcement officials and retail staff all point to a similar conclusion,” said Mosher. “However, this study uses strong methodology, identification of key variables contributing to the problem, and clear presentation to show that the law is being widely ignored despite its importance in protecting the health and safety of the community. Those who live near liquor stores and bars know from experience that these establishments contribute to the problem of alcohol-related violence and injury by serving patrons who are already intoxicated. What many people may not know is that serving intoxicated patrons is illegal.”
Sales to Intoxicated Customers
“Little attention has been paid to illegal sales to intoxicated customers,” added Toomey, “just as sales to underage youth once received little attention. Back then, the likelihood of sales to underage youth was similar to what we observed in this study in terms of the likelihood of illegal sales to intoxicated customers. On a positive note, as communities actively addressed illegal sales to youth, the likelihood of sales to underage youth decreased.”
The study also found that those servers/clerks who appeared younger than 31 years of age were significantly more likely than older-appearing servers to sell alcohol to intoxicated buyers.
“This is not a surprise at all,” said Mosher. “One would expect that younger servers/clerks are less likely to intervene, particularly when they are underage. They are either dealing with peers, and peer pressure will make it difficult to intervene, or with older patrons, who may be intimidating. Keep in mind that the off-premise retail industry in particular has pushed for legislation that permits them to hire underage clerks (18 years old or even younger), paying minimum wage. Although not to the same degree, on-premise establishments also rely heavily on unskilled, underpaid youthful staff. Retailers often fail to provide even the most basic training or supervision of these workers. Given these conditions, the higher rates of violation among younger servers are predictable.”
Toomey is currently evaluating a training program that targets owners and managers of alcohol establishments – Project ARM (Alcohol Risk Management). “The goal of this four-session, one-on-one training program is to help owners and managers of on-premise establishments develop establishment policies promoting responsible service of alcohol,” she said. “Trainers help the owners and managers introduce the new policies at a staff meeting at the establishment. The ultimate goal of the project is to help establishments prevent sales to obviously intoxicated patrons.”
Source: Daily Mail
In an effort to stop teen alcohol use, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a law that makes giving alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 a misdemeanor. Under the new law, it does not matter where the alcohol is served — which means that it is a crime to serve alcohol to someone underage in public or inside of someone’s own home.
In addition, the new law – House Bill 1554 – states that if you serve alcohol to someone who is underage and they subsequently go on to hurt someone else or themselves because they were intoxicated, as the adult who served the alcohol, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony.
The new law, which is an amendment to the Liquor Control Act of 1934, also says that the adult does not have to physically hand over the alcohol to an underage drinker. If it is determined that the adult should have reasonably known underage drinking would occur on their property, and they did nothing to prevent it, they have broken the new law. Anyone who is convicted under the new law will face incarceration, as well as a fine.
Other Laws to Prevent Underage Drinking
Illinois also has a Dram Shop law, which means that a commercial entity can be held responsible for serving alcohol to someone who is underage if the drinker goes on to injure someone else. Under this law, a business can be held liable if it can be proven that it sold alcohol to the underage drinker; that alcohol contributed to the underage drinker getting intoxicated; and the underage drinker went on to injure someone else because of being drunk.
How Common Is Underage Drinking?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year alcohol is in some way responsible for about 4,700 deaths — and 11 percent of victims are underage drinkers.
The CDC also reports that underage drinkers are at risk of things like alcohol poisoning, suicide, memory problems and long-term difficulties with brain functioning.
Get the Legal Counsel You Need
Alcohol-related offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with a crime that involves alcohol, consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has experience with these types of cases. A qualified lawyer can let you know what your rights are and help you mount a defense against the charges.
Public Act 097-1049
LRB097 06478 ASK 46561 b
AN ACT concerning liquor.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Liquor Control Act of 1934 is amended by
changing Section 6-16 as follows:
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Section whoever
violates this Section shall, in addition to other penalties
provided for in this Act, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) Any person shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor
where he or she knowingly authorizes or permits
a residence which he or she occupies to be used by an invitee
under 21 years of age and :
(1) the person occupying the residence knows that any
such person under the age of 21 is in possession of or is
consuming any alcoholic beverage; and
(2) the possession or consumption of the alcohol by the
person under 21 is not otherwise permitted by this Act. ;
For the purposes of this subsection (c) where the residence
has an owner and a tenant or lessee, there is a rebuttable
presumption that the residence is occupied only by the tenant
or lessee. The sentence of any person who violates this
subsection (c) shall include, but shall not be limited to, a
fine of not less than $500. Where a violation of this
subsection (c) directly or indirectly results in great bodily
harm or death to any person, the person violating this
subsection (c) shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. Nothing in
this subsection (c) shall be construed to prohibit the giving
of alcoholic liquor to a person under the age of 21 years in
the performance of a religious ceremony or service in
observation of a religious holiday.
A person shall not be in violation of this subsection (c)
if (A) he or she requests assistance from the police department
or other law enforcement agency to either (i) remove any person
who refuses to abide by the person’s performance of the duties
imposed by this subsection (c) or (ii) terminate the activity
because the person has been unable to prevent a person under
the age of 21 years from consuming alcohol despite having taken
all reasonable steps to do so and (B) this assistance is
requested before any other person makes a formal complaint to
the police department or other law enforcement agency about the
(d) Any person who rents a hotel or motel room from the
proprietor or agent thereof for the purpose of or with the
knowledge that such room shall be used for the consumption of
alcoholic liquor by persons under the age of 21 years shall be
guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(e) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, any person
who has alcoholic liquor in his or her possession on public
school district property on school days or at events on public
school district property when children are present is guilty of
a petty offense, unless the alcoholic liquor (i) is in the
original container with the seal unbroken and is in the
possession of a person who is not otherwise legally prohibited
from possessing the alcoholic liquor or (ii) is in the
possession of a person in or for the performance of a religious
service or ceremony authorized by the school board.
(Source: P.A. 95-563, eff. 8-31-07.)
Alcohol education crucial for college students
Source: The Daily Illini
November 1, 2012
In two separate instances in the past week, students from Rice University and Washington State University have been subject to alcohol poisoning. Currently the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission are investigating an annual party on the Rice University campus in which 11 students ended up in the hospital due to alcohol poisoning.
In another incident, a Washington State University freshman who was subject to alcohol poisoning was found dead in his dorm room last weekend.
The majority of these students were underage.
For a while, there has been much controversy over the legal drinking age: Some feel that it should be lowered from 21 to 18.
The reality for many young adults, especially those on college campuses, is that the consumption of alcohol and introduction to drinking culture is all too familiar long before they reach the age of 21. Many are introduced to drinking as early as middle school. And while the age limit is set to prevent incidents like those that took place at WSU and Rice, the current law is clearly not effective.
On this campus in particular, events and holidays such as Homecoming, Halloween and Unofficial – which is not supported or condoned by the university – inevitably encourages students to participate in a drinking culture. While participation in drinking is heightened during these times, let us remember that the opportunity is always knocking on the doors of students. After all, a person only has to be 19 to enter the local bars in Campustown.
Many similar scenarios play out on college campuses around the country, and they even affect many middle schools and high schools. It seems as if the legal drinking age is not hindering or suppressing the issue of underage drinking. In fact, many of our problems might be reduced if the age was lowered to 18.
This is an infamous case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Although the age is set to help control the negative effects of underage drinking, it just seems to have no benefit. And while it is thought someone who is 21 will drink more responsibly, this is also seemingly untrue.
In the most recent fact sheet on annual college drinking consequences from collegedrinkingprevention.gov, it was noted that over 3 million college students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol, and nearly 600,000 are unintentionally injured while intoxicated. The report also mentioned that nearly 2,000 students die from alcohol-related incidents.
The buck did not stop there.
To think that drinking related problems are stifled by the drinking limit of 21 is not true, just like it’s not necessarily true to think that drinking is uncommon amongst those as young as 12. The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that of youth between the ages of 12 to 20, nearly 25 percent drink alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that excessive alcohol consumption results in more than 4,700 deaths of underage drinkers each year.
A high legal drinking age is not suppressing the issue of underage drinking, but encouraging this behavior. People tend to desire what is considered taboo and if the drinking age is lowered to 18, many young adults will not have to sneak to drink, thus preventing obnoxious consumption. The excitement and thrill of breaking the rules causes some to go overboard, which results in incidents like those at Rice and WSU.
What many fail to realize is that the age of these young students is not what causes these problems, but the lack of insufficient knowledge and improper handling of alcohol. While many argue that lowering the drinking age will cause more damage and alcohol related incidents, age is not a real deterrent to drinking.
In fact, lawmakers and parents – the latter being the most important – should strive to put more emphasis on alcohol education and properly teaching youth not only about the dangers and consequences of drinking, but how to do so safely and responsibly. While parents and lawmakers would probably prefer that young people not drink at all, it is not realistic. Instead of beating them over the head with consequences, proper education about safe alcohol use will allow drinkers to practice safe consumption when they do decide to drink.
Because let’s face it, people are going to continue to drink whether they are over 21 or 12.
In the end, it is neither age nor law which makes a person responsible, but it is instead up to the individual themselves