Obtaining a state liquor license can be one of the hardest things a store owner ever has to do. There are many steps, applications, and forms that go into obtaining and maintaining a liquor sales license. Even worse may be losing a license for selling alcohol to a minor, after spending months and tens of thousands of dollars to obtain one.Consequences for selling alcohol to a minor typically include some sort of fine, as well as a possible citation. In some cases, the business owner may lose their liquor license or even their ability to operate their business; however these consequences can vary from case to case.

What if the Minor Used a Fake ID?

A licensee is only held liable if they sold to a minor without asking for any ID. If an ID card is asked for, and a fake ID indicating the minor is actually 21 is shown, then in almost all cases, no charges will be filed from either the police or from the state alcohol control board.

The one exception is for cases where the ID does not appear to be reasonably realistic. For example, if it says the minor is 100 years old, or is of a completely different appearance altogether, then you will likely be held liable.

However, due to newer, extremely accurate-looking forgeries on the black market, a bar or liquor store will rarely be held liable for accepting a fake ID. The same applies to actual ID cards that don’t belong to the minor (for instance if a person uses his older brother’s real driver’s license).

The vast majority of police stings and investigations are designed to catch liquor vendors who sell to minors without carding, or card them (and get real IDs that say they are minors), and then sell them anyway.

So it is very important that your clerks actually do check the age represented on any IDs presented. A scanning device to confirm the IDs authenticity (available for little cost), can go a long way in protecting you from liability, even though many forged IDs are now so advanced as to pass this test too.