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How Minneapolis Liquor Law Attorneys Can Serve You
Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
Dram Shop Violations
Whether you operate a grocery store, convenience store, or restaurant, alcohol sales probably make up a significant percentage of your revenue. Any legal interruption, such as a claim against your license or an alleged dram shop violation, could be financially devastating.
The aggressive Minnesota liquor law violation lawyers at Gerald Miller, P.A. work hard to successfully resolve these cases. Part of that hard work includes proactive client communication, so you are never in the dark.
Liquor Law Charges in Minneapolis
Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
Don’t make the mistake of confusing these charges with those related to drug crimes. Minnesota liquor laws are different from drug crime laws. Working with a Drug Crime Lawyer in Minneapolis will, therefore, not be as beneficial as working with a Minneapolis Liquor Law attorney.
It is generally illegal to sell or otherwise furnish alcohol to minors. Depending on the facts of the case, even if the customer presented a fake ID, these charges could hold up in court. Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Frequently, these violations involve sting operations. If the undercover officer induced the defendant to commit the crime, perhaps by saying s/he was over 21, a Hennepin County judge might throw the case out of court.
As experienced Minneapolis Liquor Law lawyers, we know that Minnesota law also contains an affirmative defense. If the minor’s parent or guardian was present and the alcohol would be consumed at home, this defense might apply.
Dram Shop Violations
All seasoned Minneapolis Liquor Law attorneys will agree that Minnesota has one of the broadest dram shop laws in the country. These laws hold alcohol providers liable for civil damages following an alcohol-involved car crash, assault, or similar incident. Liability attaches if the patron was obviously intoxicated at the time of sale. Evidence on this point includes:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Odor of alcohol, and
- Unsteady balance.
In court, Gerald Miller usually attacks this evidence piece by piece. Individually, these items only establish alcohol consumption. So, unless all or most of them were present, the person was probably not obviously intoxicated.
A dram shop violation could mean the loss of a liquor license in addition to liability for civil damages.
Officials often suspend liquor licenses based on very small violations. Such action could cause problems now and in the future. Some common infractions include:
- Selling alcohol in an illegal place, like a parking lot,
- Tolerating unlawful practices, such as too much rowdy behavior, and
- Employing untrained or undertrained servers.
Frequently, these prosecutions involve an informer or whistleblower. The information these people provide must be reliable according to a strict legal standard. And, the state has the burden of proof to show reliability.
An alcohol sale one minute too early or one minute too late could prompt a license suspension action. Furthermore, it’s also illegal to sell alcohol on certain days, such as Thanksgiving, any Sunday, and Christmas.
Our Minneapolis Liquor Law lawyers normally resolve these cases out of court. That resolution usually involves a probated suspension. If there are no further violations for a few months and the owner completes other program requirements, the owners keep their licenses. Sometimes, a brief eight or ten day suspension is better than a lengthy period of probation. That option is usually available too.
Liquor Law FAQs
In Minnesota, production licensee must have no felonies at all. A commercial licensee must have no felonies within the past five years. If these requirements are an issue, our attorneys might be able to expunge the felony record.
The state hardly ever revokes liquor licenses for a first offense, except in extreme circumstances. More than one or two prior suspensions, especially if they were fairly recent, could trigger a license revocation action. Common liquor law violations, as discussed above, include underage sales and sales to obviously intoxicated patrons.
Liquor laws restrict the transportation and sales of beer, wine, distilled liquor, and other alcohol products. The state must issue a license for these activities, and that license is subject to suspension or revocation.
Minnesota’s liquor laws contain a private right of action clause. So, a private attorney can enforce some of these laws, mostly in the context of an unintentional tort, like a car crash, or an intentional tort, like an assault.
All states regulate the transportation and sale of alcohol in some ways. Some states are stricter than other states. In terms of their severity, Minnesota’s laws are about average.
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