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ACT NO. 163

(H.861)

Alcoholic Beverages; Minors

This act adjusts the penalties for second class licensees (retailers of beer and wine for off-premise consumption) charged with selling alcoholic beverages to minors. It provides that an employee of a second class licensee, during a compliance check conducted by a law enforcement officer (a “sting” operation), who sells alcoholic beverages to a minor, be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $100.00 for the first violation, and a civil penalty of not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 for a second violation that occurs more than one year after the first violation; but the employee shall be subject to a criminal penalty for a second violation within one year of the first violation and for a third or subsequent violation within three years of the first violation. It also allows an employee of a second class licensee to plead an affirmative defense if the purchaser exhibited photographic identification meeting statutory requirements, if an ordinary prudent person would believe the purchaser to be of legal age, and if the sale was made in good faith, based on the reasonable belief that the purchaser was of legal age.

The act also provides for shipping permits and delivery requirements for vinous beverages, and for the issuance of motor vehicle operators’ licenses and identification cards distinguishable by color to individuals under age 18, between ages 18 and 21, and age 21 or over. The act further requires the Departments of Liquor Control and Motor Vehicles to review methods, designs and approaches used successfully by other jurisdictions that have effected a decrease of underage purchasers of alcoholic beverages, and directs the Department of Liquor Control to report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2000 with an evaluation of its current alcohol education programs, and proposals and recommendations for improvement.

Effective Date: July 1, 2000