Fines, license suspensions followed sting operations

Fines, license suspensions followed sting operations by David Lias Most of the businesses caught in the alcohol stings conducted by the Vermillion Police Department likely will be charged with furnishing alcohol to persons ages 18 to 20, said Clay County State's Attorney Tami Bern.

"If you furnish alcohol to someone under 18, it becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor," Bern said. Allowing persons 18 to 20 to obtain alcohol is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

"There is a standard fine for it (this charge)," she said. "It is a $106 fine and cost (for the license holder), and for the employee, it's a 30-day driver's license suspension in addition to a $106 fine."

Clerks and bartenders at Bunyan's, Pizza Hut, Mexico Viejo, Silver Dollar, Erickson Freedom Valu Center, and the Charcoal Lounge were charged with two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor following the first sting.

According to a report compiled May 29 by the Vermillion Police Department, charges, civil penalties and a license suspension are still pending through the state with Bunyan's.

The remaining businesses caught in the first sting had their liquor licenses suspended until June 4.

Warrant requests for employees at three of four businesses that failed the second sting on May 6 � Choice Pharmacy, Coyote Convenience, and Erickson Freedom Valu � were made by police. Warrant requests were made for the clerks at all of these businesses.

Charges, civil penalties and license suspensions at these businesses are pending through the state.

Pump N Stuff also failed the May 6 sting. No charges are pending at that business because it meets conditions under which a license may not be revoked or suspended for sales of alcohol to persons under 21.

The sale must be made by an employee or agent of the licensee.

The conditions are:

1. The licensee did not see the violation occur;

2. The employee or agent has been certified by a nationally recognized training program approved by the Department of Revenue that provides instruction on techniques to prevent persons under the age of 21 years from purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages;

3. The licensee has a written policy requiring the licensee's employees or agents to examine the driver's license or other age-bearing identification document of any person who appears to be under the age of 21 years before selling or serving any alcoholic beverage to that person, and the employee or agent has agreed in writing to abide by the policy;

4. The employee or agent has not been convicted of a similar violation within the past 12 months, and;

5. The licensee has not had any prior violation of any statute, ordinance, rule or regulation prohibiting the sale or service of an alcoholic beverage to person under the age of 21 years on the premise where the violation occurred in the previous 12 months.

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