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Derleth
10-01-2003, 01:14 PM
If I accept false ID unwittingly, am I liable for any crime?

Let's pose a hypothetical:

Say I own a bar. (As point of fact, I do not.) One Friday evening, I card a young lady who wants to buy a beer. She looks like a young-looking twenty-two, and her driver's license bears that out. The forgery is a high-class job, with all of the laminations right and even the correct color-shifting foil. She's confident and doesn't look like she's trying to put one over on anyone. I serve her a beer.

What happens now?

Otto
10-01-2003, 02:13 PM
No idea. The state code (http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/1999/mca_toc/16.htm) dealing with alcohol sales appears to be silent on the subject, which leads me to believe that enforcement in Montana of sales to minors is legislated and enforced on the city or county level. I don't see Havre's ordinances online (it's the only non-linked city on the Montana Bar Association website) so you may need to trek to the local library. My non-lawyerly WAG would be that you could be prosecuted for serving a minor but the minor's possessing a fake ID that's a near-perfect duplicate of a real one would be a strong defense or at least a mitigating circumstance in any punishment.

NFlanders
10-01-2003, 02:26 PM
You're fine. You made a reasonable effort to determine her age. There is only a very specific type of crime where it doesn't matter what you thought you knew. For example, if your scenario was that the girl had a super ID proving she was 18 an she really wasn't, and you slept with her, you would be guilty of statutory rape no matter what. IANAL, but one will be along soon to define the difference. Something about being held responsible absolutely, versus what you knew at the time.

Otto
10-01-2003, 05:18 PM
For example, if your scenario was that the girl had a super ID proving she was 18 an she really wasn't, and you slept with her, you would be guilty of statutory rape no matter what. Can you provide a cite for this? IIRC there are some jurisdictions where the reasonable belief of the majority of the other party may be raised as a defense. For some reason I was thinking California was one but I'm not finding it in the penal code. Can anyone enlighten me?

I'm also wondering what your authority is for claiming that he would face no criminal liability based on his attempt to verify her age. I agree, but it's my opinion as opposed to a factual answer so I'm wondering if you have some additional insight into the ordinances of Havre, Montana?

CrazyCatLady
10-01-2003, 06:16 PM
It varies by state. In Kentucky, if they get pulled over or otherwise caught drinking underage, your ass is still in a sling. Not as big a sling as it would be if you hadn't checked ID, but still a sling.

There was a case several years ago where some underage guys (I think still in high school, but I don't remember for sure) went to a frat party, got drunk, and got into a fatal wreck on the way home. The frat was checking ID's, and these kids had really good fakes, so good that they stopped on the way to the party and picked up some beer. The families sued the frat for wrongful death and won. These kids had fake ID's, bought beer under their own power elsewhere, had already been drinking when they arrived, and had their ID's checked by the frat. In the light of all this, the fraternity was still found 60% responsible for their deaths, for having served alcohol to persons under the age of 21. The kids, having gotten forged ID's, deliberately commited fraud to buy beer and gain entry to this party, and having chosen to drive while drunk, were found 40% responsible for their own deaths.

So it's not always a matter of reasonable precautions covering one's ass.

Whack-a-Mole
10-01-2003, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by CrazyCatLady
There was a case several years ago where some underage guys (I think still in high school, but I don't remember for sure) went to a frat party, got drunk, and got into a fatal wreck on the way home. The frat was checking ID's, and these kids had really good fakes, so good that they stopped on the way to the party and picked up some beer. The families sued the frat for wrongful death and won. These kids had fake ID's, bought beer under their own power elsewhere, had already been drinking when they arrived, and had their ID's checked by the frat. In the light of all this, the fraternity was still found 60% responsible for their deaths, for having served alcohol to persons under the age of 21. The kids, having gotten forged ID's, deliberately commited fraud to buy beer and gain entry to this party, and having chosen to drive while drunk, were found 40% responsible for their own deaths.

In fairness CCL, your story relates a civil suit which is a different creature from criminal prosecution which is what the OP was asking about.

Even if the boys in your story were truly of legal drinking age the frat might still have been held civilly liable (I think it has happened before where someone serving alcohol [legally to people of legal age] at a party lets someone leave and then they [the hosts] get sued for an accident that occurs later...I'll look for a cite to that if you wish).

Bear_Nenno
10-01-2003, 07:13 PM
In Florida you would be in the clear for the sale of alcohol to a minor. All you have to do is card anyone who looks younger than 35. If they fool you, that's not your fault. That's "ignorance of the facts" not ignorance of the law, and it's a legit defense in court.
As a matter of fact, if cops send in a minor who tries to buy liquor from you, and you ask how old he is, he has to tell you his correct age. So if you are bartending on a friday night in FL, and you're just slammed, but you dont want to be arrested for selling to a minor, just say "Are you over 21?". If they say "Yes". Then they are at least not working for any cops...

Oh, and Otto, Florida is one of those states that does not allow "ignorance of the facts" in sexual battery charges. Here is a cite for you:

794.021 Ignorance or belief as to victim's age no defense.-- When, in this chapter, the criminality of conduct depends upon the victim's being below a certain specified age, ignorance of the age is no defense. Neither shall misrepresentation of age by such person nor a bona fide belief that such person is over the specified age be a defense.

Where it says "in this chapter" it's talking about Chapter 794 which is sexual battery. In court, you are not allowed to even mention that you met her at a bar, that she had fake ID and a million people said she was over 18. You cant say how she acted or how she dressed or anything. And the prosecution will have her take the stand holding a lollipop and wearing pigtails....

I understand why it's like that, but I'm not sure if that's always fair...

Donut
10-01-2003, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by Bear_Nenno
As a matter of fact, if cops send in a minor who tries to buy liquor from you, and you ask how old he is, he has to tell you his correct age. So if you are bartending on a friday night in FL, and you're just slammed, but you dont want to be arrested for selling to a minor, just say "Are you over 21?". If they say "Yes". Then they are at least not working for any cops...
This sounds suspiciously like the "undercover cops aren't allowed to lie" urban legend. Without a cite, I would doubt it is true.

kgriffey79
10-01-2003, 11:05 PM
Originally posted by Bear_Nenno
In Florida you would be in the clear for the sale of alcohol to a minor. All you have to do is card anyone who looks younger than 35. If they fool you, that's not your fault. That's "ignorance of the facts" not ignorance of the law, and it's a legit defense in court.
As a matter of fact, if cops send in a minor who tries to buy liquor from you, and you ask how old he is, he has to tell you his correct age. So if you are bartending on a friday night in FL, and you're just slammed, but you dont want to be arrested for selling to a minor, just say "Are you over 21?". If they say "Yes". Then they are at least not working for any cops...
I don't know about this one. In my former fake ID experiences I was buying out of a white trash market(no scanners) and presented my fake Arizona ID(in Oregon at the time). The lady said, "Arizona, huh?" I replied, "Yup." She looked at me funny and said, "are you the police?" I said, "huh?? no!" She then said, "Alright, because they can't lie to us."

http://snopes.com/risque/hookers/cop.htm

There ya go. Another story, when I was even younger, 16 I think. My friend and I shouldertapped off a bum. His first question was are you the pOlice? I said, do I LOOK like the police, I'm 16. He said, man I've met pOlice that's 7 or 8 years old. He was a crazy old codger that told us to go up to Seattle because he knew people and could get us a job at Microsoft, and a free computer. When we dropped him off he said to us, "Now I ain't your dad, and I ain't your uncle, but stay in school, ya hear me?"
No shit dude, no shit. haha

Some Guy
10-01-2003, 11:11 PM
In addition to the possibility of criminal and civil penalties, there's an additional worry for your hypothetical bar: licensing. Every state requires the owners of bars and other establishments offering "on premise" liquor to purchase a license for the privelege of doing so; the fee is generally slightly less than the GDP of Bolivia. Furthermore, at least in Georgia (the state I'm familiar with), and probably in every other state, one of the conditions of operation is that your license can be revoked for essentially any reason whatsoever. If the local revenooers just don't like you, that's your tough luck. Needless to say, they can (and will) revoke licenses just in order to be seen to be "doing something" about underage drinking. This especially tends to happen when some incident makes the news, but criminal charges can't be brought. It's one of the hazards of operating such an establishment in a country that had to pass Amendment 21 just to allow liquor sales.

Bear_Nenno
10-01-2003, 11:44 PM
The Urban Legend you are talking about is where people ask, "Are You a Cop?" And they think the officer must answer truthfuly. Wheather or not the drug dealer is a cop, does not change the legality of your actions.
However, wheather or not the person you are serving is 21, does change the legality of your actions. If someone tells you he is 21, and you believe him. You are not committing a crime. Ignorance of the facts (not ignorance of the law) is a legit defense.
To stop everyone from claiming ignorance of the facts by saying, "he really looks 21, I thought he was old enough - I was ignorant" the state has made it mandatory for vendors to card everyone appearing to be under 35!

As far as a cite... I dont think my claim is so outrageous that one is absolutely necessary. I'm not going to go fishing for a case, but I'll understand if you dont accept this.

With that out of the way, I will tell you that after the academy I interned with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. We'd send in minors to stores and bars where complaints existed, to see if they could successfully purchase alcoholic beverages. There were a lot of specifics and technicalities. And the kinds had to be briefed everytime. Among the things they were instructed to do was to never lie about their age, always give their correct date of birth, always give their correct ID if asked for it, do not say anything or cause any actions that would make them come off as older (ie. "Damn wife sent me up here to get some beer), never wear a hat or any article of clothing that would partially or completely obscure their face, always be clean shaven - no goatee or mustache.... the list goes on. And every night we went out, they had to be photographed so their appearance could be documented so the defendant doesn't try to say we sent in someone dressed up like a 30 year old. (however they dress...)

Bear_Nenno
10-02-2003, 12:00 AM
Not sure if that first part came out clearly.

Basically if the drug dealer/hooker is a cop, you are committing a crime.
If the drug dealer/hooker is not a cop, you are still committing a crime. His lie would not be affecting anything.

If the patron is 21, you are not committing a crime.
If the patron is under 21, you are.
Lieing here would directly affect the crime itself.

If the patron was a 20 year old COP and you asked "Are you a cop?" he would not have to tell you the truth because it's irrelevant. But if you then asked his age.... he would have to say "20"

"Materially Lied" is the key here. Lieing about the facts that matter.

NFlanders
10-02-2003, 01:00 AM
Originally posted by Otto
Can you provide a cite for this? IIRC there are some jurisdictions where the reasonable belief of the majority of the other party may be raised as a defense. For some reason I was thinking California was one but I'm not finding it in the penal code. Can anyone enlighten me?

I'm also wondering what your authority is for claiming that he would face no criminal liability based on his attempt to verify her age. I agree, but it's my opinion as opposed to a factual answer so I'm wondering if you have some additional insight into the ordinances of Havre, Montana?
I was hoping a real lawyer would turn up on the thread eventually, but I do have some cites.
The phrase I was groping for was strict liability (http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability) (meaning that your ignorance of the facts, even if reasonable (i.e. seemingly good ID) is not a valid defense).
Apparently, under common law (and thus applying to common law states) the only crimes that have strict liability are bigamy and statutory rape. Again, IANAL, but this is what my internet research showed. Here is a chart showing this (http://law.wustl.edu/Organizations/SBA/Outlines/Crim%20Law%20ChartBrickey2002.htm) (I don't know how to link to a specific part of the webpage, so just do a "Find on page" for statutory and you'll find the appropriate box).
Under the model penal code, no crimes would have strict liability, only minor violations that result in fines. At no time does a piddling crime like accidently selling alcohol to minors even enter into the debate.
Unless Montana has some idiosyncratic law, I remain confident that the alcohol ID thing is not a problem. If it were, then every bartender in America would be doing time.

NFlanders
10-02-2003, 01:12 AM
As for the statutory rape thing, Otto was right about California not regarding statutory rape as a strict liability crime (http://mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00702.html). I was wrong to blanketly assert what I now realize is just common law. However, I would be interested to know how many states still regard statutory rape as a strict liability crime.

Markxxx
10-02-2003, 03:22 AM
When you say ID how do you define it. One hotel I worked in would make us ID everyone, copy it down and we ONLY allowed 3 types of ID. State Issued Driver's Licence, State Issued ID Card or Military ID. No other ID accepted. Would this make a difference?

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