Alcohol, whether we want it or not, has a big effect upon our lives. It is known as one of the main causes of all the legal contradictions. At least once in your life, you will encounter situations that will require specialized knowledge about Liquor Law.
Liquor law violations include control over serving, consuming, possession and sale of alcoholic beverages.
WHAT IS ALCOHOL?
Alcohol (also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is a chemical compound found in beverages like beer, wine, and distilled spirits, such as whiskey, vodka, and rum, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts. It is one of the most popular recreational drugs. One drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol). One drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.
In the United States, approximately 50 percent of adults are current regular drinkers and 14 percent are current infrequent drinkers.
HOW DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT A PERSON?
Alcohol is classified as being a drug or a depressant, which means that it slows down vital functions. It affects all human organs (brain – damaging control movement, speech, judgment, and memory; heart – causing cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure; liver – steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis pancreas; kidneys; immune system). Alcohol in blood travels directly to the brain and affects its cognitive functions (ex. information processing, decision making, eye-hand coordination), increasing many kinds of injuries.
Also, alcohol consumption is correlated with cancers in various parts of the body.
When people think about drinking crimes they automatically assume the rate of drunk driving accidents, but it should be noted that alcohol leads to many other types of crimes, particularly the violent ones, worldwide. In other words, the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption include increased risk of suicide and homicide, alcohol-related crashes and fatalities, other unintentional injuries such as burns and drownings, physical and sexual assault, academic and social problems, unintended and unwanted sexual activity, and adverse effects on the developing brain.
BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION (BAC)
Blood Alcohol Concentration is the quantity of alcohol contained in a person’s blood, being measured as weight per unit of volume. It is determined by a Breathalyzer test. This tool will help you calculate the approximate amount of alcohol concentration in your blood.
Note: the legal limit is any number below 0.08 in all states.
Zero Tolerance Law (also known as Drinking Under Influence or DUI) is a concept used to define the prohibition of alcohol consumption by anyone under the minimum legal drinking age of 21. It establishes automatic punishment in order to eliminate the phenomenon of underage drinking (or purchasing and possessing). It has to be mentioned that even if the legal limit in all the states is now 0.08%, for the drivers under 21 the forbidden alcohol content is 0.01% or 0.02%.
PENALTIES FOR LIQUOR LAW VIOLATION
The logic behind the Liquor Law is very simple. It was designed in order to combat the potential harm or complications involving alcohol. As examples of Liquor Law Violation might be selling alcohol to minors, public intoxication, underage drinking, selling alcohol without a license, drinking and driving. Generally penalties for violation of liquor law are:
- short jail sentence.
To go into detail, any sort of abuse of the Liquor Control Act may result in fines up to $10,000, suspension or revocation of the license or both.
Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?
Our bodies respond to alcohol differently. The alcohol tolerance is a very particular thing, according to our genetic makeup, personal health, age, gender, race/ethnicity, weight, fitness level, amount of food consumed before drinking, speed of alcohol consumption, use of drugs or prescription medicines, family history of alcohol problems.
ALCOHOL STANDARDS IN THE UNITED STATES
Congress is the one in charge to regulate imports and taxing alcoholic beverages, and other aspects of the liquor laws. In all 50 states, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. Besides this fact, there exist a lot of other restrictions dealing with alcohol sale hours, grocery store sales, age of purchasing and consumption. A combination of Federal, State, and local laws influence the way alcohol is manufactured, taxed, transported, priced, and sold.
The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) supplies information about all the alcohol-retailed policies at both State and Federal levels.
Which alcohol is stronger?
Let’s have a brief analysis of the amount of alcohol in each drink:
Beer 2–6% alcohol
Cider 4–8% alcohol
Wine 8–20% alcohol
Tequila 40% alcohol
Rum 40% or more alcohol
Brandy 40% or more alcohol
Gin 40–47% alcohol
Whiskey 40–50% alcohol
Vodka 40–50% alcohol
Liqueurs 15–60% alcohol
Fermented drinks (i.e. beer and wine) include from 2% to 20% alcohol, meanwhile distilled drinks (vodka, gin, rum, whiskey) contain from 40% or more of alcohol.
If you want to sell alcohol to the public, you are required to have a license. Licenses are initially granted for one year, but they can be renewed every three years. Their conditions for selling and supplying cover a lot of aspects, such as hours and days alcohol can be sold, who alcohol can be sold to, provision of information about alternative transport arrangements, etc. You have to be acknowledged with four types of licences:
- Off-licence - permits the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises (ex.tavern, hotel, pub, train, plane, entertainment venue, café, bar);
- On-licence - allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises. (ex. supermarket, bottle store);
- Club license - admits the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the club premises to members of the club, their quests members of other clubs with reciprocal visiting rights. (ex. Food and wine festival, wedding in a council hall);
- Special license - allows the sale or supply of alcohol to anyone attending an event, private function, sporting event.
Responsible authorities for the license release are: local fire and rescue, police, primary care trust (PCT) or local health board (LHB), the relevant licensing authority, environmental health authority, and any other licensing authority in whose area part of the premises are situated. In the United States, liquor licenses are issued separately by each individual state. So, in order to receive an alcohol license make sure you fill all the criteria and have all the information needed.
As reported by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, meanwhile heavy drinking is considered to be 5 or more drinks on the same occasion, on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.
Binge drinking brings blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 g/DL, which means approx. 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in about 2 hours.
Let’s face the problem in numbers: daily, about 50 americans die in car accidents, involving a drunk driver. This equals to one death per every 51 minutes. An estimated 32% of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous because the human brain has to deal with the processing countless amount of data and being affected by the alcohol makes it vulnerable, because all of its cognitive functions are damaged in a certain way.
There exist a lot of alcohol control strategies and measures used for public health-oriented interventions that incorporate alcohol availability, drink driving countermeasures, restrictions on alcohol marketing, modifying drinking contexts. Taxing alcoholic drinks is the most common measure used in order to reduce its economic availability.
Another statistic shows that 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the U.S. Alcohol consumption among teens kills 4,700 people each year – that’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
It is proven that when alcohol is less available, less convenient to purchase, alcohol consumption generally declines.
ANOTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
Every social issue has multiple sides: for example, the moderated alcohol use may have its benefits. Strong evidence from observational studies has shown that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Moderate alcohol use is also associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality among middle-aged and older adults and may help to keep cognitive function intact with age.
Who should not drink:
- Those who are considered to be heavy drinkers, or those who can’t restrict their drinking to moderate levels;
- Anyone below the legal drinking age;
- Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant;
- Those who take prescription medicines, or specific medical conditions;
- Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination or in situations where impaired judgment could cause injury or death (e.g., swimming).
Alcohol is a cause of numerous legal disputes: either you want to obtain a licence for your bar, or you had a fight with a drunk stranger and you have some law issues, or somebody opened a pub downstairs and you can’t sleep at night, because there is too much noise. All of the cases mentioned above require professional knowledge. Don’t hesitate asking for an attorney because even the smallest details might become complicated when alcohol is involved. Your lawyer will make concrete explanations of what should you do in order to avoid complicated situations.
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