Food & Drink Magazine

Servers and Bartenders: Brush Up On Your Legal Knowledge

By Waiterstoday @Waiters_Today

Servers and Bartenders: Brush Up On Your Legal KnowledgeIn the state of Indiana, laws governing the sale of alcohol have gone through some crazy changes in the past year. It's been a little confusing, to say the least.  One minute we have to card EVERYONE regardless of their age (which makes an endless stream of customers waiting for drinks seem even more endless) to the more feasible change that took place July 1, 2011.  Not to mention the new requirements set for servers and bartenders to obtain their liquor license. But before we get into the details, we'll start with some background.  

The reason behind the changes in the law was an obvious attempt to lower the amount of underage drinking.  According to a recent report mentioned on the local television channel WTHR, the attempt was successful.  Reports of violations were only 8.8 percent for bars and restaurants.  This number, along with the 4.3 percent of violations from liquor stores, has gone down over 40 percent since 2009.  In order to obtain this information, Excise Police worked several stings falling between January 1st and June 30th.  Officers put businesses to the test by accompanying an individual ranging between the ages of 18 and 20 who would attempt to buy alcohol.

In addition to stricter ID requirements, a law came to be which mandated servers and bartenders be certified in a service training which covered the sale and service of alcohol.  So instead of the past ritual of filling out an application and paying a fee, a server or bartender can only renew or obtain a liquor permit once they have completed a server training class.

So just in case anybody missed the changes, needs a refresher, or doesn't want to deal with the excessive amount of information found on our state's Alcohol & Tobacco Commission's website, I've put together some of the most important laws you need to know as a server or bartender so you can avoid Excise Police drama, fines, loss of your or the restaurant's liquor permit, and (in a worst case scenario) jail time.

Keep This Mind While Serving Alcohol:

1.  Card anyone who looks under 40.  It's our new state law, adopted July 1st.  It is a Class B misdemeanor for a permittee or an employee or agent of a permittee to recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally sell, barter, exchange, provide, or furnish another person who is or reasonably appears to be less than forty (40) years of age an alcoholic beverage for consumption off the licensed premises without first requiring the person to produce

2.  Suggested items of identification are picture ID's, including but not limited to, a driver's license, state-issued ID card, or US Government identification. (REMEMBER: If you still question the age of the person you should refuse to serve them.)

3.  A person 21-years-of-age or older who knowingly or intentionally encourages, aids, or induces a minor to unlawfully possess an alcoholic beverage commits a Class C infraction.

4. If they're under 21 and in your bar, ask them to please leave.  It is a Class C misdemeanor for a minor to recklessly be in a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished.  It is a Class C misdemeanor for a permittee to recklessly permit a minor to be in the prohibited place beyond a reasonable time in which an ordinary prudent person can check identification to confirm the age of a patron.

5.  It is a Class C infraction for a parent, guardian, trustee, or other person having custody of a child under 18-years-of-age to take that child into a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished.  It is a Class C infraction for a permittee to permit the parent, guardian, trustee, or other person having custody of the child under 18-years-of-age to be in or around the prohibited place with the child.

6.  Pay close attention to this.  Especially part b, because as a bartender or server you have a responsibility.  Part b applies to minors AND all patrons of legal drinking age. 

It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally sell, barter, exchange, provide, or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a minor.  However, the offense described is:

  (a) a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a prior unrelated conviction.

  (b) a Class D felony if the consumption, ingestion, or use of the alcoholic beverage is the proximate cause of the serious bodily injury or death of any person.  

7. Re-mentioned again, because if they don't know their limits...It's your job to know. 

It is unlawful for a person to sell, barter, deliver, or give away an alcoholic beverage to another person who is in a state of intoxication if the person knows that the other person is intoxicated.

A person who furnishes an alcoholic beverage to a person is not liable in a civil action for damages caused by the impairment or intoxication of the person who was furnished the alcoholic beverage unless:


  (1) the person furnishing the alcoholic beverage had actual knowledge that the person to whom the alcoholic beverage was furnished was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcoholic beverage was furnished

  (2) the intoxication of the person to whom the alcoholic beverage was furnished was a proximate cause of the death, injury, or damage alleged in the complaint.

8.  Customers who want to bring their own wine or alcohol in to a restaurant are not legally allowed.  It is against the law.  Not to mention, you don't bring your own food into a restaurant and ask the chef to cook it for you.  These people are idiots AND are breaking the law. 

It is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to knowingly carry liquor into a restaurant or place of public entertainment for the purpose of consuming it, displaying it, or selling, furnishing, or giving it away to another person on the premises, or for the purpose of having it served to himself or another person, then and there.

9.  Sale from Original Container Only.  It is unlawful for a person to sell, dispense, give away, furnish, or supply or serve to a person, an alcoholic beverage, from a container other than the original container in which the liquor was contained at the time it was purchased by the seller, dispenser, giver, or person serving it.  It is unlawful for a person to:

  

        (a) refill a bottle or container, in whole or in part, with an alcoholic beverage; or

        (b) knowingly possess a bottle or container that has been refilled, in whole or in part, with an alcoholic beverage after the container of liquor has been emptied in whole or in part.

10.  It is unlawful for a person to act as a clerk in a package liquor store, or as a bartender, waiter, waitress, or manager for a retailer permittee unless that person has applied for and been issued the appropriate permit.

The commission may not issue an employee's permit to an applicant while the applicant is serving a sentence for a conviction for operating while intoxicated, including any term of probation or parole.

Also, the commission has the right to revoke an employee's permit if the employee is convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

For more information on our state laws governing the sale of alcohol, you can visit:


http://www.in.gov/atc/


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