Easy Steps To Prevent Sale Or Funishing Alcohol To A Minor Decoy

If the ID is vertical, STOP, it’s probably a minor.
When you ask for ID, always ask, "How old are you?"

California Business & Professions Code section 25658(a) makes it a misdemeanor to sell or furnish alcohol to a person under 21. That no money changed hands will not be a defense.

California law has a "three strikes" rule for sale/furnishing alcohol to a minor. For the first sale/furnishing to a minor in the past three years, the standard penalty is a 15-day suspension of your ABC license. But the ABC licensee may pay a fine and avoid serving the actual suspension. The fine is calculated at ½ of daily alcohol sales x 15 (for number of days of suspension), with a minimum of $750 and maximum of $3,000.

A second violation within 36 months of the first one, increases the standard penalty to a 25-day suspension with the option to pay a fine up to a maximum of $20,000.

A third sale/furnishing to a minor violation within 36 months will probably lead to outright revocation of your license or a forced sale to a third party (who cannot be related by blood or marriage), and the license will be suspended while the license transfer is pending, usually a minimum of 45 days.

Prevent sales to minors to avoid these costly penalties.

ABC Rule 141 requires decoys to show their true ID if asked, and to answer truthfully any question about their age.

If your bartender/server/clerk says he "misread" the decoy’s ID, he didn’t know what he was looking at. You can spot a minor decoy’s true ID from 15 feet because the ID is vertical, not horizontal. See the sample on the next page. Use this to train your bartender/server/clerk to know what a minor’s ID looks like.

Equally important, whenever an ID is checked, ALWAYS ASK the customer "How old are you?" And LISTEN to the answer. Decoys MUST answer truthfully any question about their age. There are many sad cases where the decoy said "19" and was served anyway.

To sum up: If the ID is vertical, STOP, it’s probably a minor decoy.
When you ask for ID, always ask, "How old are you?"