Routine, comprehensive compliance checks are one of the most effective ways to deter commercial alcohol sales to minors, if done properly. They involve the use of underage buyers by law enforcement agencies to test retailers' compliance with laws regarding the sale of alcohol to minors. Successful enhanced underage drinking enforcement efforts happen through close and frequent collaboration between law enforcement agencies, community coalitions and media outlets. But carrying out these operations is only the first step in ensuring that there is a credible deterrent. Businesses and individuals providing alcohol to minors need to be held accountable for their illegal actions.
The enforcement of the Nebraska Liquor Control Act with regard to sales to minors by licensed establishments is adjudicated at two separate levels: criminal and administrative.
The server/clerk that served/sold alcohol to the minor is issued a criminal citation, which will be adjudicated by the appropriate county court. If found guilty, the maximum fine is $1,000 and/or one year in jail. In lieu of a fine or jail sentence, the judge may also place the individual on probation and/or diversion.
The business where the service or sale of alcohol to a minor occurred is issued an administrative citation, which will be adjudicated by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (Commission). This process is completely independent of the outcome of the criminal case. If found guilty, the business faces sanctions which are guided by the Commission’s Penalty Guidelines. These guidelines establish standards for first and subsequent violations of the Liquor Control Act; however, they are not binding. In every case, the Commission has the authority to suspend, cancel or revoke a license. The licensee can choose to either serve the days of suspension or pay a fine instead.
If an establishment has recurring instances of the same violation within the preceding four years, the penalty increases with each violation. For violations including sales to a minor and allowing a minor to possess/consume alcohol, subsequent violations could include days of mandatory closure which cannot be paid off as a fine (versus days of suspension). In the file below, we are focusing on sale to minor violations resulting from compliance check operations that we have coordinated since 2013. As a result, we are providing those violations that fall within the last four years which are specifically related to underage drinking. Consequently, these licensees may have numerous Liquor Control Act violations that are not listed here. To view a comprehensive license history, you may use the ‘Licensee Search’ feature on the Commission’s web page.
Please select the period for which you would like to view the results of Project Extra Mile-coordinated compliance checks: