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Court Rules in Minor DWI Case

According to a New York DWI Lawyer, a Lounge bar petitioned for the dismissal of charges against them by the State Liquor Authority after they were found guilty of selling alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 years. The bar’s liquor license was suspended for 15 days and was imposed a penalty. The person to whom the bar allegedly sold the alcohol was killed in a car accident shortly after driving while intoxicated from the Lounge bar.

A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said that the record establishes that the Lounge was a topless go-go bar whose entertainment fee was included in the additional cost of each customer’s first drink. The Lounge bar’s witnesses testified that its doorman admitted the minor after he displayed false identification. However, the police officer who subsequently inventoried his personal effects found a variety of identification documents, but no false ones. Moreover, his two friends testified that the identification was not checked at the door, but that he was admitted while they were excluded based on their respective physical appearances.

A New York DWI Lawyer has not disputed that the minor spent about an hour inside the bar. During that period, when his two friends testified that they approached the door to the Lounge bar and observed him inside drinking from a bottle of beer, the Lounge bar witnesses claimed that he was not served any alcohol. In addition, all of the witnesses agreed that at some point he endeavored to bribe the doorman to admit his two underage friends. According to his friends, while negotiating with the doorman, he was visibly drunk and was holding a bottle of Budweiser beer in his hand. The bribery attempt was reported to the bar manager, who testified noticing the minor who was then intoxicated and signaled the barmaid to stop serving the minor alcoholic beverages. No Lounge bar employee made any effort to drive him out.

At the hearing, the minor person’s two friends, also under the age of 21 at the time of the incident, testified that prior to going to the Lounge bar, they were all drinking in another establishment where, without having their identification checked, they were served with beers. The threesome then drove to the Lounge bar and only the deceased minor, who already appeared intoxicated, was admitted. The two friends, who remained outside, tried to see him whenever the front door opened and, at some point, saw him drinking from what appeared to be a bottle of beer. The two friends could not see the bar from outside the front door and they did not see how he obtained the beer. When he went out of the Lounger bar and returned to the car, he was pretty drunk and was holding a bottle of beer which he threw out the window before the car accident.

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge held that the charge had not been sustained by evidence. However, the finding was reversed by the Sate Liquor Authority, which held that the evidence introduced at the hearing sustained the charge. The State Liquor Authority issued the order which suspended the petitioner’s liquor license for 15 days and imposed a $1,000 penalty.
The standard to be applied is whether the illegal conduct was open, observable and of such nature that its postponement could, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, have been prevented. According to the credible testimony, the minor person was inside the bar for an hour drinking beer while he was visibly intoxicated, and gave the club’s employees reason to question his majority when he unabashedly attempted to bribe the doorman to admit his juvenile companions.

Critical witnesses could have established how the minor obtained the illegal beverage was available but chose not to testify. His friends, who were never admitted to the Lounge bar, had no opportunity to observe him purchasing his beer. Under the unusual circumstances, as in many a criminal conviction, the allegation depends necessarily upon circumstantial evidence which must not be unsound.

Legal disputes over intoxicated drivers often hurt businesses and may cause great amount of money. If you find your company in need of sound advice, feel free to call and consult with legal counsel from Stephen Bilkis and Associates. Our offices are located all throughout the NY Metropolitan Area.

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