Twenty-one is the legal drinking age in the U.S., yet college students are often more than halfway through their undergraduate years by the time they reach that age. This can lead to them obtaining false identification in order to join their older friends at bars and obtain alcohol.
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission requires a liquor license for any place of business that attempts to distribute alcohol.
Field operation lieutenant, Valerie Goodno, said there are certain steps these places have to follow in order to obtain a liquor license.
“If somebody applies for a liquor license, we have what’s called MTS training, which is mandated by law, that a representative from the establishment that’s going to be licensed must attend,” Goodno said.
She continued, “It’s a four-hour block where one of our training specialists takes about four or five hours training on our liquor laws and rules, on best business practices, IDs, mostly the laws and the rules pertaining to liquor licenses.”
After completing this training, those who apply for the license are able to receive them. From there, any staff or
employees who will be handling alcohol on the premises must be trained in the proper procedures for doing so, according to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.
“There’s online training for bartenders and servers and sellers, Total Education Alcohol Management Training, where there is free training for your servers and sellers out there that have a liquor license,” Goodno said.
Part of this training involves the proper way to check an ID.
According to Scott Topa, bouncer at local bar Kilkenny, many places use a book with pictures of IDs to compare to the ones they receive.
“The state gives each bar a book,” Topa said.
Jessica Tulley, employee at Campus Convenience (CampCo), said that she compares IDs she receives to pictures in the same book.
“We got this little booklet that shows you what real ones look like and it has a little validation section that shows you things that are absolutely on the real one, and might not be on a fake one,” Tulley said.
This allows for those in these positions to be sure the IDs they are accepting are indeed real, and to differentiate the real IDs from those that may have been made by a distributor of fake IDs.
A student who used a fake ID that he ordered from a website had it taken away at CampCo after it had been determined fake.
“I used it in Keene and it got taken from me the first time using it. It did not work in New Hampshire. They asked why I was giving them a fake ID, and I was like alright bye,” he said.
Tulley said that those accused of using a fake ID will usually just admit it’s fake right away instead of arguing.
“If I think the ID is fake and I check it against the booklet and something is wrong, I usually just ask them if it’s fake and a lot of times they’ll just kind of say yes and run away,” Tulley said.
“If they’re adamant that it’s real, I can call the police and the police will come and verify if it’s real or not. If it is real
the person will just get it back, but I’ve never been here when the police have been here and a person with a fake ID has been here.”
Topa said that manufactured fake IDs are not quite as common as people misrepresenting themselves through the use of another person’s ID.
“I tell them straight away that I’m going to take it, and if they have any kind of opposition to that I call the police, who will come down to verify. It’s never happened when I’ve been here,” Topa said.
Another student said that she used to use her older sister’s ID to buy alcohol.
“It said that I was five years older than I actually am. I never had to show a second form of ID with it, nobody’s ever denied it or asked questions about it,” she said.
This student also said that she was aware that this could be a serious offense of identity theft if she had been caught.
“I would have said that I stole it from my sister and not that she had given it to me. I would have said it had nothing to do with her and it was all me. I did know that it would be an issue of identity theft, but I pretended I didn’t. I did not want to think about facing that,” she said.
Goodno said that any place that is caught accepting fake IDs or violating any other alcohol laws could lose its liquor license after an investigation.
“Let’s say they accepted a really bad fake ID and that they didn’t go through the process of what we look for in fake IDs, there’s a possible fine, there’s possible suspension of their license. They can go for a hearing, if it’s a really bad fake ID, it’s an administrative notice, and on the notice it will say ‘must appear’ and at that point they have to contact an administrative assistant,” she said.
The consequences of accepting fake IDs can have a significant negative impact on these places of business.Tulley said that her boss is strict about checking IDs for this reason.
“Our policy is that buying alcohol or cigarettes or a water pipe or anything is a privilege not a right, and we need to protect that,” Tulley said.
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