South Carolina’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing Board Punishes Businesses that Sell Alcohol to Minors, Even if it is an Accident
According to news listed on the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association’s “Underage News” page, the U.S. has seen 43 incidents in various states involving busts of bars, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other establishments that sold alcohol to minors, and either lost their alcohol beverage licenses, or had the license suspended pending criminal investigation.
South Carolina takes the sale of alcohol to minors very seriously, and punishes the offense not just by revoking the business’s alcohol beverage license, but issues large fines and potential jail time for the store clerk, waitstaff, or business owner who allowed the minor to purchase alcohol without checking their license.
The S.C. Statehouse’s website offers this in regards to liquor laws involving underage consumption of alcohol: “It is unlawful for a person to transfer or give to a person under the age of twenty-one years for the purpose of consumption of beer or wine in the State, unless the person under the age of twenty-one is recruited and authorized by a law enforcement agency to test a person’s compliance with laws relating to the unlawful transfer or sale of beer and wine to a minor.” Both the sales person and the minor may be charged for violating underage drinking laws, and the business could suffer serious revenue losses for losing their alcohol beverage license and losing reputation in the community.
As a business owner in South Carolina, it is important to understand the alcohol beverage license laws and underage drinking laws in the state. For example, if a retailer is found guilty of selling alcohol to a minor, the first offense could lead to 30 days in prison and a fine of $200 to $300 – and that is just for the individual who sold the alcohol.
The Department of Revenue (DOR) operates South Carolina’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing (ABL). This is a serious of business licenses that different businesses can apply for, depending on how they wish to offer alcohol sales or for how long. For example, if a fundraiser wishes to offer a bar with alcoholic drinks for purchase, then a special events alcohol beverage license can be applied for; if a convenience store wishes to sell beer and wine for consumption off-site, then that is a different type of alcohol beverage license. However, these licenses are all overseen by the DOR’s ABL application.
DOR also offers a page of businesses whose alcohol beverage licenses have been suspended, and for how long. The length of suspension depends on how serious the violation of the ABL was – if the business failed to reapply for the ABL for months or years, for example, the license could be revoked for more than 12 months. If the business negligently sold alcohol to a minor, the ABL could be revoked for a period of weeks or months, or, depending on the seriousness of the criminal investigation and how long the business had been negligent or malicious, over 12 months.
For questions regarding the serious violation of selling alcohol to a minor, or fighting to regain a revoked alcohol beverage license, please give us a call today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.