Five Easy Ways to Lose Your Liquor License
If you have questions about liquor licenses, your first move should be to seek legal advice and consult an attorney. These laws are controlled at the state level, as well, so be sure to visit the state website of NJ. There, you will find detailed information regarding the sale, purchase, and regulation of alcoholic beverages according to state law. The purpose of this post is simply to address the ways a business can lose its liquor license, which are common to every state.
Failure to Check ID or Selling to Minors
The legal age to drink alcohol is still 21, in all states. Since selling to anyone younger is the surest way to lose a liquor license, most establishments check the identification of customers who appear to be 30 or younger. That is just for failing to check! If you actually sell to someone under 21, you are still in serious danger of losing your liquor license.
Just remember, you stand to lose a great deal. The customer stands to lose nothing more than the chance to buy a drink. Feel free to encourage your servers or bartenders to ask questions if they are suspicious or believe that the ID is fake or belongs to someone else. The consequences do not end at your establishment, either. An intoxicated underage drinker may still go on to injure someone, cause property damage or even cause a death. At the very least, you will lose your liquor license. There will be questions asked followed by serious consequences, if it is discovered that you continued to serve a visibly intoxicated person, regardless of their age.
Continuing to Serve the Visibly Intoxicated
You can be held liable for a person who gets into an accident or causes an injury after leaving your establishment. Knowingly serving a visibly intoxicated individual is a sure way to at least lose your liquor license. The fact that so many lives are lost because of this is a big reason why most bartender training programs and state-sponsored training programs for individuals who serve alcoholic beverages are trained in how to spot an intoxicated person, as well as how to stop serving them without making the person belligerent.
You cannot put a dollar amount on the physical injuries and emotional distress that result from heavy alcohol abuse. Most of those dollars are the result of binge drinking, but what constitutes binge drinking? Some say four or more on a single occasion for women, five of more for men. What is your number? Maybe it is time to re-evaluate. This applies to servers and customers.
Failure to Properly Train Servers
Train your servers. Most states have their own programs. New Jersey has TIPS Training. However, responsible alcohol training is not mandated by the state. It comes down to your insurance company. Some have made certification mandatory for you to purchase liquor liability insurance, in which case TIPS courses are all accepted statewide.
Illegal Practices on the Premises
Illegal gambling is one example of a common, unlawful practice that can cost restaurants and bars their liquor license. The amount of aggression and violence that occurs in an establishment cannot only lead to a license being revoked but can also be a sign that patrons are being served too much alcohol or are being served when they are visibly intoxicated.
Selling Alcohol at Unauthorized Times
Last call in most New Jersey municipalities is 2 a.m. and any bar selling alcohol after that time will most likely face sanctions that can include the loss of their license. Patrons are usually required to vacate the premises by 2:30 a.m. and establishments can face penalties if they allow anyone to remain longer, including the loss of their liquor license.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
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