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Alcohol Compliance Sting

Updated on June 3, 2010

Beer, Beer, and More Beer

Are You Old Enough to Buy This
Are You Old Enough to Buy This
Miller Lite Beer
Miller Lite Beer
Corona, a new favorite
Corona, a new favorite

Underage Alcohol Purchases

Selling of alcoholic beverages to individuals under the age of 21 is illegal as we all know. There should be some form of punishment induced for breaking this law. On the same hand, some form of punishment should be implemented on/to the person that is underage making the purchase.

Most local law enforcement agencies will do what is know as an alcohol compliance sting. I do believe this can be useful in the reduction of illegal alcohol sales if done properly and without the law enforcement agency using entrapment. The rules are quite specific according to David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

"In order to be legal, compliance checks and/or sting operations must be conducted without entrapment. Basically, entrapment is inducing people to commit a crime they are not “predisposed” to commit and would not ordinarily commit."

"To avoid losing cases because defendants successfully claim entrapment, the standard compliance check specifies that if a cashier asks for identification, the under age person assisting the sting operation is to immediately cease the attempt to purchase alcohol and leave the establishment. The under age person is not to present a false identification card, give an excuse for not having any I.D., produce an ID that shows the correct age, or otherwise try to obtain an illegal sale after being asked for identification."

A sub section of Florida Statute 562.11 :

(1), a comparable identification card issued by another state which indicates the person's age, a passport, or a United States Uniformed Services identification card, and acted in good faith and in reliance upon the representation and appearance of the person in the belief that he or she was of legal age to purchase or consume the alcoholic beverage. Nothing herein shall negate any cause of action which arose prior to June 2, 1978.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to misrepresent or misstate his or her age or the age of any other person for the purpose of inducing any licensee or his or her agents or employees to sell, give, serve, or deliver any alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age, or for any person under 21 years of age to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Having this information I am going to propose two scenarios to you:

1. You are a young Male working your first real job at the local convenience store. You now have about 2 months experience when it happens, a compliance shop. Your completely unaware that there are law enforcement officers in the store to watch how you handle the transaction. Now a cutesy young brunette wearing a ponytail, t-shirt, jeans and flip flops enters the store and goes to the beer cooler selects a single can of beer. She stands back and waits for the crowd of customers to leave and approaches the counter. She places the beer on the counter. You, never looking up pick up the beer, scan it into the register, bypass the I.D. required prompt, tell her the purchase amount. She pays and leaves the store. Now the law enforcement officer approaches you asks you for your I.D. and tells you that you are under arrest. You are issued a citation stating when you are to appear in court. If you are found guilty you will have to pay a $500 fine and your name goes into a national computer for child abuse. Your mistake you did not ask for I.D.

2. You are a 46 year old female working part time at the local convenience store. Very diligent at asking for I.D.'s from everyone who does not look like Ma and Pa Kettle. Now same situation law enforcement officers enter the store, and a young male dressed in shorts (knee length) and a hoodie jacket. He approaches the beer cooler and selects a single beer. He comes to the counter after the other customers have left the store. You take one look at him and ask for his I.D. You put on your reading glasses, verify the age and proceed with the sale. After the young male leaves the store, the law enforcement officer approaches you asks for your I.D. and states you are under arrest. You are issued a citation and told when to appear in court. If found guilty you will be given a $500 fine and your name go into a national computer for child abuse. Your mistake you misread the age.

Now knowing both scenarios which is wrong or are both wrong. Reading the information given at the beginning of the hub, was either one handled properly by law enforcement? Should either one seek legal representation or should both just take the punishment to be given out?

And What about the business owner, should lack of good judgement by the employees count against the business owner?


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      The law is the law, you are the responsible party. Having been a bartender I was attempted to be 'stung', I got a commendation from the officer because of my diligence in asking every person in the party for ID.

      No matter what, it is your job and ultimately your responsibility. Even if the person looks like ma or pa kettle and they don't have ID, the sale can and should be refused.