Six Clerks in Kershaw County Cited for Allowing Underage Drinking and Selling Alcohol to Minors
Six clerks at businesses in Kershaw County were cited on Wednesday, March 19th, for selling alcohol to minors and thereby allowing underage drinking.
The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office undercover operation used underage volunteers, with their parents knowledge and consent, to attempt to buy alcohol at 24 establishments. They were successful in 6 cases.
Citations for underage drinking and selling alcohol to minors were issued to the BP service station in Elgin; the Walmart in Camden; and the Food Lion, the Youngs, the Plums, and Somewhere, all in Lugoff.
According to Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews, in each instance, the underage volunteer presented their legitimate ID, which showed that they were underage. In some cases, the stores had ID verification equipment which was used improperly or not used at all; in one case, the clerk did not ask for ID.
Each clerk was fined $672.50, which will be adjudicated by the magistrate’s court. The stores will also face a fine, which ranges from $500 for the first offense to $1500 for the third, which includes a suspension of their beer and wine license for 45 days.
“It is no secret that the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to limit the availability of alcohol to our young people,” said Matthews. “The purpose of these undercover operations is solely to keep stores from selling alcohol to our teenagers.”
“That we continue to make cases against stores that sell alcohol is very troubling,” said Matthews. “As I have said before, these businesses need to do a better job of educating their employees on the proper way to check identification. There is a program designed by the SC Department of Revenue to teach store employees how to properly verify the age of someone trying to purchase alcoholic beverages. It would be prudent for the stores to mandate this training for their employees.”
Consequences of Selling Alcohol to Minors and Underage Drinking in South Carolina
South Carolina has a zero tolerance policy toward underage drinking, and there are serious consequences for selling alcohol to minors. According to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-50:
It is unlawful for a person to sell beer to a person under twenty one years of age. A person who makes a sale in violation of this section must, upon conviction, be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than sixty days, or both, in the discretion of the court.
A conviction for underage drinking can have lasting consequences.
- A student who has been convicted and/or pled guilty to an alcohol or drug related offense will not be eligible for a LIFE scholarship after the expiration of one academic year from the date of the adjudication, conviction or plea.
- A driver who is over the age of 18 but under 21 charged with DUI may additionally be charged with child endangerment and subject to additional criminal penalties if they are carrying a passenger younger than 16.
A conviction for underage drinking and driving may ruin potential career opportunities.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Charges For Selling Alcohol to Minors and Underage Drinking Charges
South Carolina’s strict zero tolerance policy and the future implications of an underage drinking or selling alcohol to minors conviction make it critical that you contact a South Carolina underage drinking lawyer to protect your rights. The Criminal Defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC provide a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Call us today to see how we can help. 803.252.4800