I see more and more clients charged with selling alcohol to underage persons in violation of Virginia Code Section 4.1-304, which prohibits sale of alcohol when the seller "knows or has reason to believe" that the purchaser is under 21 years old.
Many hard working Virginians in the service industry or working at grocery and convenience stores sell alcohol hundreds of times a day in the course of their employment. These people do their best to ensure that they aren't selling to minors, but sometimes there are external pressures or simple fatigue that cause a lapse in vigilance, leading to an unlawful sale.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is constantly conducting stings on local alcohol venders, looking for occasions where minors are able to successfully make an illegal purchase. The stings are generally conducted using minors aged 17-19 under the supervision of a senior ABC agent who watches the purchase from a distance.
Consequences for Selling Alcohol to a Minor in Virginia
The ramifications of being caught in one of these stings are huge, especially for the individual who allows such a sale. First, the criminal charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. But second, and perhaps even more severely, these individuals are often fired from their jobs upon conviction.
The employers know that ABC will come after them for large civil penalties, typically $2,000 for a first offense. For this reason, they tend to be merciless on the employee who accidentally engaged in the sale.
Get a Free Consultation from My Firm
If you have been charged for sale of alcohol to a minor, contact us right away. There is much that an aggressive lawyer can do to attack this charge. Don't accept a conviction as a foregone conclusion, as it may cost you your job, a lot of money, and perhaps even your freedom... Don't let this happen to you!