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In the State of California, anyone who is 21 years old or older can legally consume alcohol. However, there are still a lot of restrictions on how alcohol can legally be promoted and sold. It is not legal for the owner of an establishment to hire someone in order for them to solicit the sale of alcohol.
In order to prove that the owner is in violation of Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol, the prosecution will need to prove one of two things. They must prove that the defendant hired a person whose job it was to encourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages, or that they paid a person (either via a percentage of sales or a commission) on the sale of alcohol if they encouraged the purchase of alcohol on the premises.
For example, let’s say that a man who owns a nightclub has noticed that sales have been declining. He wants to boost sales, so he decides to hire models who will come in on the weekend. The models are tasked with encouraging customers to purchase cocktails. For every drink they sell, the models receive a commission. The bar owner could be charged with violating Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol.
Note that this law applies to on-sale premises, which are establishments that have a license to sell alcohol that is to be consumed o the premises. A nightclub or bar would fit into this category.
There are three offenses that are related to Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol: Allowing Loitering to Solicit Alcohol from Patrons, Selling Alcohol Between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., and Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol.
Defenses to This Crime
If the establishment owner does not sell alcohol to be consumed on the premises, they won’t be charged with this offense. For example, if a person who owns a wine shop hires a sommelier to help customers purchase wine, and the sommelier shows customers where the more expensive wines are and then gets a commission for the bottles sold, the shop owner would not be found guilty of Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol.
Also, a host, hostess or bartender who encourages customers to purchase drinks will not violate the law.
Process of Being Charged for Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol
It’s possible that an agent from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will come into your establishment undercover in order to do a random check of your bar or club in order to make sure you’re complying with the law. If the agent finds any violations, the owner will be cited. This could lead to a criminal charge, as well as revocation of the business’ liquor license.
These charges would go to Superior Court, as other misdemeanor cases do. Since there isn’t always certainty when it comes to how aggressive the owner or employees promoted the purchase of alcohol, it’s necessary to have an experience defense attorney who can show that the owner’s business practices were not in violation of the law.
Penalties if Convicted
If you or your business is convicted of Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol, it’s considered a misdemeanor. You may face a jail sentence of as long as six months, as well as having to pay pricy court fees. The establishment owner may also have their liquor license revoked.
If you have been cited for Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol, it’s necessary to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney right away in order to keep your business safe.