MOUNDS VIEW, Minn., March 3 Recent results from alcohol compliance checks conducted in 20 jurisdictions throughout Minnesota show that nearly 90 percent of alcohol retailers refused a sale to someone under the age of 21.
Out of 500 checks completed, 446 retailers passed. Checks were conducted with both on-sale and off-sale establishments from August through December 2009.
"While we are pleased with the results, we would like to see 100% compliance. One out of 10 establishments selling to someone underage is concerning," said Sheila Nesbitt, project director with the Minnesota Institute of Public Health (MIPH).
Local law enforcement conducted the compliance checks with funding from MIPH through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
A compliance check is a tool to identify alcohol establishments that sell to underage youth. In a compliance check, a law enforcement officer works with an underage youth who attempts to purchase alcohol from a bar, restaurant, liquor store, grocery store or other licensed outlet. If the clerk/server asks for identification and refuses the sale, the outlet passes the compliance check. If the clerk/server completes the sale, the outlet has illegally sold alcohol and fails the compliance check.
Penalties for selling to a minor can include fines and license suspensions, and can potentially lead to license revocation. A server who sells to someone under 21 can be charged with a gross misdemeanor offense.
These results are not necessarily representative of the state. They reflect the results of departments that applied for and received funding to conduct the checks. Many other law enforcement departments across Minnesota routinely conduct compliance checks, although the checks are not currently required by law.
Another round of checks is scheduled to be conducted between January and May 2010.
SOURCE Minnesota Institute of Public Health