Unlawful Sale of Alcohol to a Minor

Utah Unlawful Sale of Alcohol to a Minor Attorney

If you are an employee or an owner of a Utah store that sells beer, chances are you have been confronted with a minor trying to buy alcohol.  Utah takes the law forbidding the sale of alcohol to persons under 21 years old very seriously.  In fact, Utah law enforcement is authorized to conduct up to four random alcohol sales compliance checks each year at every retail establishment with a beer license that allows it to sell alcohol to the public.  Utah law enforcement conducts these checks by sending an actual minor into the store to try to buy alcohol.  Whether you have been apprehended by the police for selling alcohol to a minor in one of these sting operations or if you have been cited for selling alcohol to a minor during the ordinary course of business, the consequences can be severe.  You will need the help of an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney who understands both the criminal and the civil consequences of selling alcohol to a minor.  Our criminal defense lawyers have years of experience defending ordinary people who have been charged with selling alcohol to a minor in both the criminal court system and in administrative hearings.  We know how to get the best outcome in your selling alcohol to a minor case and we know the remedies you may have against the minor who bought the alcohol.

Utah Unlawful Sale of Alcohol to a Minor Laws

The State of Utah makes it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone younger than 21 years of age.  It is equally illegal simply to offer to sell alcohol to someone less than 21 years of age, regardless of whether the minor ends up buying the alcohol.

Consequences of Unlawfully Selling Alcohol to a Minor in Utah

In setting criminal consequences for selling alcohol to a minor, Utah makes a distinction based on the seller’s level of knowledge regarding the minor’s age.  If the seller has no personal knowledge of the buyer’s age and fails to verify that the buyer is over 21 by checking an ID, then the seller can be found guilty of a class B misdemeanor.  The potential consequences of conviction for a class B misdemeanor include a fine of up to $1000 and up to six months in jail.  If, however, the seller knows that the person buying alcohol is under 21 and sells to them anyway, the seller can be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor.  The potential consequences of a conviction for a class A misdemeanor include a fine of up to $2500 and up to one year in jail.

In addition to criminal penalties, Utah assesses administrative penalties against both store clerks who sell alcohol to minors and against the stores where those clerks are employed.  Before a grocery store or convenience store employee can sell or supervise the sale of alcohol, that employee must complete Utah state mandated training which focuses on how to check for a valid ID and how to refuse an alcohol sale to a minor.  This training must be completed within 30 days of the employee’s hire.  The consequences for a first offence if the employee does sell alcohol to a minor are a written warning and having to retake the Utah state alcohol training.  The consequences for a second offense are a 90 day suspension from selling alcohol, retaking the training, and any other training that the local authorities may require.  The consequences of a third offense are a one year suspension from selling alcohol, retaking the training, and any other training the local authorities may require.

The administrative penalties for stores where minors have purchased alcohol are more severe.  The consequence of a first violation is a written warning.  The consequence of a second violation is a $250 civil fine.  The consequence of a third violation is a $500 civil fine, a 30 day suspension of alcohol sales and a one year probation.  If another violation occurs during the probation period the store’s beer license will be revoked and the store will not be able to reapply for a beer license for six months.  Additionally, if a store allows a suspended employee to selling alcohol or supervise the sale of alcohol to anyone, regardless of whether or not they are a minor, local authorities may immediately suspend the store’s beer license.

A store or a store employee is entitled to an administrative hearing on any violation or alleged violation of the law forbidding the sale of alcohol to a minor, but the store or employee must first make a request that a hearing be held.

Unlawfully Selling Alcohol to a Minor Who Uses a Fake ID

The Utah mandated training for store employees who sell alcohol focuses on how to spot a fake ID.  However, the State of Utah recognizes that if a minor tries to use a fake ID to buy alcohol it may not always be detectable.  Therefore, Utah law allows a retail store a remedy against minors who use fake proof of age to buy alcohol if that sale leads to a fine against the store.  The retail store has a right to collect half the amount of the resulting civil fine from the minor.  The retail store can also require the minor to pay the attorney fees that result from the legal action to collect the fine from the minor.  If the minor who bought alcohol is under 18, the retail store has the option of collecting from the minor’s parent or guardian.  In addition, the retail store may have the option of suing the minor in civil court to collect additional money.

Contact an Attorney Who Defends Unlawful Sale of Alcohol in Utah

The consequences of illegally selling alcohol to a minor can be very expensive and last for years.  Our Utah criminal defense illegal sale of alcohol to a minor lawyers have the experience, the knowledge, and the relationships to help you successfully navigate the criminal justice system and come out on the other side with the best possible result.   Our defense attorneys can also help you with the process of  requesting an administrative hearing to defend against the civil fines and possible suspension of your beer selling privileges or license.  It is an undisputed fact that defendants who have the help of an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer get a better result in their illegal sale of alcohol to a minor cases. We can help you.  Call Intermountain Legal and you will receive a free initial consultation where one of our criminal defense illegal sale of alcohol to a minor attorneys will answer your questions and help you understand the next steps you should take to minimize the consequences of illegally selling alcohol to a minor. Call 801-990-4200 for a free consultation.