From the North Branch Police Department
The North Branch Police Department has been awarded a grant to conduct alcohol compliance checks on all licensed retailers. A compliance check is a tool to identify alcohol establishments that sell to underage buyers.
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 check.
North Branch Police Chief Dan Meyer says, “alcohol compliance checks help prevent problems related to underage drinking and have been a proven tool for reducing youth access to alcohol.”
In the next few months, officers will conduct the first round of compliance checks. A second round of checks will be conducted after the first of the year.
Any seller caught furnishing alcohol to an underage buyer will be referred to the Chisago County Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. In addition, the owner of the alcohol license will face civil prosecution. Along with the issuance of an alcohol license comes the responsibility to ensure all sales are made legally and responsibly.
Law enforcement is committed to working with retailers to help them abide by the law. Selling alcohol is a legitimate business that plays a valid role in our community.
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.
Invitation Health Institute has provided the alcohol compliance check funding through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.