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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Exclamation Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Maryland.

    Recently, I just graduated from college and secured a job in southern Maryland. 2 Weekends ago, I traveled down to Maryland from State College, PA to look for an apartment. Later than night, my fiance and I went to Applebee's for dinner.

    She decided that she wanted an apple martini with her dinner. We are both over 21 with non expired PA driving licenses to prove it. We were denied alcohol. The reason they gave is that we both have the license where it is vertical and not horizontal and the manager stated that it is Maryland law that they can only serve to people who's licenses are horizontal.

    I find this to be a little crazy as I am over 21 years of age, possess a legal non expired PA license and yet am unable to be served in MD. The real kicker is that we went to the "Tiki Bar" earlier that day(literally 5 mins away from this Applebees) and had drinks with no problem...

    The reason the license is vertical is because I have never gotten it updated since I've turned 21. I have no need to, it hasn't expired and it still has my DOB on it w/ all of the other relavent information. I've been served in NY, NJ, and PA without any issues as well as earlier that day at a different location in MD.

    All in all, it truly didn't matter and the HHT went well anyways, but its just been bothering me since then to actually see if this law exists.
    Anyone able to find a law such as this one?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: Does This MD Serving Alcohol Law Exist?

    There is probably a section in MD law, as I saw for Texas one time when a poster aksed, that it is an "affirmitive defense" for a person if they were caught selling alcohol to a minor that they checked the status of the TX ID to complete the sale.

    Irrespective of that, it is ENTIRELY up to the merchant what forms of ID they wish to accept as valid. If they do not wish to accept out of state ID's whether yours was vertical or not, it is thier business.

    There is no law in any state which "forces" a merchant to accept any ID as proof of age.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Well the reason I was denied was because they stated that there was infact a law in place the prohibited them selling alcohol to people who do not possess a horizontal license. They were not stating that it was Applebee's decision but infact a Maryland law that was forcing the action.

    Anyone able to link up the specific statute that says only horizontal licenses will be allowed to purchase alcohol in Maryland? You state that it "probably" exists... but I have been unable to find it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dauphin County, PA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    811

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    You are right is not not the answer you want to hear, but it is likely the correct answer. Don't drink and drive in Maryland or the District; trust me on that one. They will cite you for 0.04 or 0.02 if they feel they can get away with it! It's revenue and stimulates the legal economy.

    I digress...
    To the best of my knowledge there is no such law in Maryland. ...but many of these chains train their staff to err on the side of caution. You see, Applebees is a family restaurant. The last thing they want to be nailed for, and have published in the paper, is a bust. It is much easier for them to err on the side of caution and miss out on $25-$50 of revenue here and there to get busted and slapped with a $2500 fine AND AND the protests of MADD. MADD will send letters and come in to ask to speak with a manager telling them about the problems of drunk driving and underage drinking. That takes time away from the manager doing her/his "real job" which is getting the food out and serving customers. Push this and the manager can ask you to not come back. Some restaurants, such as BW3, now Buffallo Wild Wings, are strict but will use the license if it is legit and not expired. ...but they may be overly cautious if other bartenders have sensed or heard of busts.

    ...a bar on the other hand is not a family place though some families start after a night of drinking in a bar. They are not a chain. The ID is very much up to the bouncer and his/her expertise. Sometimes I would ask for the ID id someone looked young and I was the bartender.

    We reserve the right to refuse anyone was not a law, but should have been!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Quote Quoting g19-fanatic
    View Post
    Well the reason I was denied was because they stated that there was infact a law in place the prohibited them selling alcohol to people who do not possess a horizontal license. They were not stating that it was Applebee's decision but infact a Maryland law that was forcing the action.

    Anyone able to link up the specific statute that says only horizontal licenses will be allowed to purchase alcohol in Maryland? You state that it "probably" exists... but I have been unable to find it.
    I tried to sift through MD's laws but came up empty. However, the Hawk's link is excellent.

    IF a DL is NOT horizontal, as MD's 21 and over requires, they are not required to accept any out of state ID, DOB intact or not!!

    You have to understand, merchant's sometimes tell customers something is "against the law", that does not mean it is. I have been given that line many times in my shopping life. They either do it on thier own initiative or by boss/company order, ESPECIALLY concerning age restricted products.

    When it comes to alcohol sales the owners/companies attorneys probably best advise thier agents/employees that it is the "state of the law as they understand it", and it is best to side on the side of caution per possible case law.

    Sometimes the case law is NOT crystal clear and if a more cautionary approach to alcohol sales is taken, the customer has no say in it, whether defacto the law or not.

    Selling alcohol to a minor can possibly have grave legal consequences for a merchant.

    Applebee's legal department is covering itself and I see no wrong it.

    I went into a well known store once, I shall not name it, and purchased some car engine grease remover. The note came up to the cashier to check my I.D.???

    I said to myself, "Say what"???

    I guess it is an "inhalant" and company policy now required that an I.D. be checked that I was over 18? I did not bother to complain, no big deal!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Thank you all for looking for the law.

    I completely understand the need to cover your own @ss when you're selling alcohol. My parents used to own a small family grocery store in NY where they sold alcohol. We were very strict and scrutinized the DLs but we never gave the "its against the law" excuse if it wasn't.

    If they would have just came out and said that it is against Applebee's policy in MD to sell to people who's licenses are vertical, I would have understood. Its just that using an excuse of a law being the reason and not the business' discretion is what ticked me off at the time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Quote Quoting g19-fanatic
    View Post
    Thank you all for looking for the law.

    I completely understand the need to cover your own @ss when you're selling alcohol. My parents used to own a small family grocery store in NY where they sold alcohol. We were very strict and scrutinized the DLs but we never gave the "its against the law" excuse if it wasn't.

    If they would have just came out and said that it is against Applebee's policy in MD to sell to people who's licenses are vertical, I would have understood. Its just that using an excuse of a law being the reason and not the business' discretion is what ticked me off at the time.
    They are not required to sell alcohol to anyone.

    Period.

    End of story.

    Even if.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    17,294

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Its just that using an excuse of a law being the reason and not the business' discretion is what ticked me off at the time.

    And it's entirely possible, under the circumstances, that the person you were speaking with honestly believe that it was a law. Being mistaken does not translate into a lie or an excuse - it is a mistake.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Refusal To Serve Alcohol Because License Is Vertical

    Quote Quoting seniorjudge
    View Post
    They are not required to sell alcohol to anyone.

    Period.

    End of story.

    Even if.
    thank you for your useless response as it was such a great help

    @cbg
    that is actually something i didn't think about
    its all over now and really doesnt matter, but i was just looking to see if it really did exist. Looks like he was mistaken or made an excuse.

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