ID Checkers Protect State Liquor Raids

States across the country are increasingly conducting raids on bars and clubs to probe for liquor license violations. Although these raids are typically cited as crackdowns on selling liquor to minors or prevention of alcohol-related violence, many believe cash-strapped states are simply increasing revenue by issuing more tickets to bars. To protect themselves against fines, many bars are protecting themselves with ID card scanners.

Many of these sting operations focus on bars and nightclubs located near college campuses that are known to serve a young clientele. The Thirsty Turtle, a bar in College Park, Maryland, had its liquor license revoked on November 3, 2010 for underage drinking citations. State and local officials began investigating the bar after a series of violent incidents involving minors. The bar had been previously fined $5,000 for serving alcohol to a minor in 2009.

Authorities often use covert tactics to find evidence of serving alcohol to minors. In the instance of the Thirsty Turtle, county liquor authorities recruited two underage students, who typically look old for their age, with valid Maryland drivers’ licenses that clearly showed they were underage. The students approached the bar and showed their IDs to the bouncer. The bouncer quickly looked at the IDs and let the underage students into the bar without calculating the age of the cardholders. The business owner was standing near the doorway overseeing the bouncer and also didn’t check the IDs closely. Once inside, the students ordered two Bud Light beers and texted the liquor authorities outside that they had been served alcohol. The authorities walked into the bar and seized the two drinks as evidence. A citation was issued to the owner, and several weeks later the liquor board voted unanimously to revoke the Thirsty Turtle’s liquor license. If an ID Checker had been used at the door, the bouncer and business owner would have been alerted to the students’ age.

Raids like the one in Maryland have become routine to bars in New York City, New Haven, and other college towns across the country. In New Haven, a police campaign dubbed “Operation Nightlife” has resulted in numerous citations for underage drinking and over capacity clubs. After exhaustively raiding bars throughout the city, the “Operation” is now shifting focus to liquor stores for underage violations. Frequent and successive raids in New York City with fines ranging between $1,000 and $3,000 for each violation have resulted in a rush by bar and club owners to purchase ID Checkers for their businesses.

ID Checkers are an easy and cost-effective way to protect against underage drinking citations and fines. Typically costing less than just one infraction, an ID Checker is a smart business investment.  Regular use can help bouncers, bartenders and liquor store clerks easily detect underage patrons. Furthermore, ID Checkers provide an electronic record of each ID that is scanned. This can provide crucial evidence for a bar to prove to liquor authorities that a particular ID was checked.  Purchase one today and avoid the fate of bars across the country like the Thirsty Turtle.

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