- Arizona Member member April 2018 Attorney Guide to Wednesday May 30th, 2018 :: 01:42 p.m. PDT
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Two cited for selling alcohol to a minor with a fake ID
On May 29, 2018, officers from the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety conducted alcohol compliance checks at local businesses in Rohnert Park. Officers used a “decoy” with a real identification card (ID). The ID however, did not belong to the decoy and the picture did not resemble them either. The ID belonged to someone who is older than the decoy.
In 2007 the Alcoholic Beverage Sales Ordinance, (ABSO) was passed that requires all businesses who sell or serve alcohol to go through a four hour training within 60 days of employment. The program offered by the city is referred to as Responsible Beverage Service (RBS). The department puts on many trainings each year at the main public safety building. The training includes how to detect fake or altered identification as well as other ways to determine if a subject is using an ID to try and purchase alcohol while under age. It also covers many of the alcohol possession laws. Each participant in the class receives a certificate of completion after successfully passing a post course test.
The decoy entered the Grocery Outlet in Rohnert Park and the clerk sold alcohol to him. It was learned the clerk had not received RBS training so the officers took the opportunity to educate them in lieu of a citation.
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The decoy then tried to buy alcohol at the Mi Farlito restaurant and was refused service. The server at the restaurant had recently gone through the RBS training and was able to spot the difference in identity; therefore, service was refused.
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A bartender at Quincy’s was presented the identification and sold to the underage decoy. Unfortunately this person had received RBS training; therefore, they were issued a citation for the sales to a minor.
A clerk at Raley’s was presented with the same ID and they sold alcohol to the underage decoy. When officers spoke with the clerk, they learned the clerk had not yet gone through RBS training. Again the officers used the opportunity to educate the clerk and encourage attendance in the next training.
Finally, a clerk at Safeway who received RBS training was presented the borrowed ID. Although the clerk was trained in the detection of fake or borrowed ID, they chose to sell to the minor. Officers cited this clerk for the violation.
This operation was focused on clerk or bartender compliance rather than the administrative sanctions involved with underage sales/service. Each violation can carry a criminal fine ranging from $250 - $1000 to the cited individual. In this operation there were no administrative actions taken on the business itself.
One of the misunderstandings to responsible beverage service and sales is commonly quoted, “Decoys can’t lie about their age”. to Attorney Arizona April Guide Member member 2018 This is NOT true, it is incumbent on the server or clerk to verify the person buying alcohol is 21 or over, period!
The misunderstanding comes from two different operations, administrative vs. criminal. Administrative operations focus on the establishment themselves. In this case, the decoy CANNOT lie, must use their own ID, and must answer all questions truthfully. In this operation, if the establishment serves the underage person, The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, (ABC) can and will take administrative action on the licensee in addition to a criminal complaint being filed on the server or clerk. Criminal operations do not require the decoy to tell the truth and frequently they have borrowed ID’s to try and get clerks or bartenders to serve them. In all of the cases where the decoy uses an alternate ID, the picture on the identification does not look anything like the decoy. “What we’ve found after years of observing business practices is that employees merely scan the birthdate without looking at the picture.” This provides instant satisfaction that the person presenting the ID is of age. What the employee misses is the fact the photo and physical description don’t match. It is important that employees go through the appropriate process and not jump to the outcome. Fake ID’s are more sophisticated today and this requires due diligence on the part of the employee. This is emphasized during the four hour training.” said Commander Mike Bates of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety. “It is important that employees go through the appropriate process and not jump to the outcome.” Per Commander Johnson, “Graduation is right around the corner and these folks are so impressionable. Now with more teens and young adults using marijuana and getting behind the wheel, we want businesses to do their part and make it a little tougher for those underage to get booze. Together we can help decrease preventable deaths!”
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