BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– After the latest report on underage drinking from the Alcohol and Beverage Control Board, a vote was made to increase fines for liquor violations.
The ABC Board presented its findings to the East Baton Rouge Metro Council on underage drinking. The ABC Board found that from 1993 to 2022, those aged 18 to 20 were the highest age group for underage drinking in bars.
They found that many underage minors use fake IDs, or exchange 21 and over wristbands and LA Wallet to have issues. Currently, the board has confiscated over 10,000 fake IDs in Baton Rouge.
On Thursday, the ABC Board approved a harsher fee schedule for liquor license violations, increasing the minimum recommended fee from minor offenses to major ones, like underage drinking.
BRProud asked to speak to members of the board, but they declined to comment on the new fines.
The ABC Board changed the first, second, and third fines along with rules for offenses.
For a first offense within a one-year applicable minor fine, no board appearance is required. For a second-time offense in this class within a one-year-double, the application fine or a maximum fine of $750.00 and board appearance “shall” be required. The third offense within the year is a $1500 maximum fine, recommended minimum of suspension fifteen (15) days, and a board appearance required.
Class Two offenses and Class Third offenses both now require a board appearance if unable to pay their fines.
For Class Two offenses, a second offense within one year-double the applicable fine or a maximum fine is now $1000. For a third offense within the category, it goes from $1000 to now $1500, and a recommended 15-day suspension if violating any laws within the class.
A Class Three offense is the highest offense that the board has changed for the new fines. This class is considered to be a “major” case of drinking violations, like underage drinking.
This category requires a board appearance for breaking any of these violations. A second offense with the category is applicable to paying a fine of $1500. A third time breaking the violations within the year, pay a minimum of $2000 and a thirty (30) day suspension.
Originally, if a bar owner was caught serving those who are underage, the fine was $500, now it is $750 dollars for each underage person.
One board member discussed how 100 people could result in 100 tickets if caught by the ABC Board or undercover law enforcement drinking underage in a bar. That would result in a $75,000 fine at minimum.
The board hopes these new efforts to set expectations will rule out what they call “bad actors in the business.” One member told BRProud, “We do not want to tolerate this type of behavior.” The board can still revoke the business’s liquor license for two years.