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Just Doesn’t Seem Just

Back in college, I worked for about eight weeks as a bartender to fill in for a friend of mine who was off making his student film. It was in the East Village in New York City, so it was an interesting experience to say the least. DWI was not a problem because just about everyone was walking or taking public transportation when they stumbled out of the bar in the wee hours of the morning – last call was close to 5:00 a.m.

Keeping that experience in mind, I find this to be very troubling:

The state began focusing on bars because studies show that about half the people arrested for drunk driving recently left a licensed liquor-serving establishment, Alcohol and Gaming Division director Gary Tomada said.

But often, citations are issued in cases that don’t involve drunken driving or any other kind of illegal behavior by drinkers [emphasis added].

I strongly recommend you read the whole article in the link above. The gist of it is that:

  1. no law was broken
  2. the agents confirmed that the individual in question had a designated driver
  3. the bartender is looking at up to a $1,000 fine, and/or a $2,000 legal bill

This is worth repeating, “no illegal behavior by the drinker occurred.” Something is terribly wrong with the way that this playing out. There is absolutely no way for a bartender to determine that an individual who walked in off the street and ordered their first drink is already drunk.

These citations need to stop.