The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Bartenders are liable for who they serve

Approximately four hours later, officers say he drove into the opposite lane of a highway and hit another car head on. Three people were killed, and another was seriously injured. Kania has since been charged of three second-degree murders. 

And while state statutes require servers at bars to check ID at the point of sale, law enforcement officers say the bars Kania visited only checked his ID at the door.

According to state statutes regarding alcohol sales, the person selling the drinks is responsible for making sure that the patron is legally allowed to drink. 

This means if an accident occurred, it is not the owner or person at the door who is responsible. The server of the drinks would be liable for the damages and is required to appear in court, according to the statutes.

Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said police encourage servers to card every customer at the point of sale instead of only checking for identification by the door.

“The person at the door is not going to get in trouble; it’s the person who is serving that’s going to get in trouble,” he said.

He said the servers also have many other responsibilities.

“It is also the responsibility of the server to ensure that the patron is not being over-served alcohol, and it is also their responsibility to make sure that the person isn’t providing alcohol to someone who is not over 21,” he said. 

According official documents, the two bars Kania visited — La Residence and He’s Not Here — received notices of violation from the N.C. ABC Commission for failing to determine Kania’s age when serving him drinks.

Jeff Lasater, special agent for the Alcohol Law Enforcement, said the commission can fine or suspend the businesses if they decide to take action.

The state’s statutes regarding alcoholic beverages also rule that a person who sells alcohol to an underage drinker is guilty of a misdemeanor. Punishments can include a fine and community service.

Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub manager Mackenzie Koppenhofer said they check for identification at the door on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after 10:30 p.m. At other times, patrons’ identification are only checked when they purchase drinks.

“We ID at the door and at the bar as well, but sometimes it doesn’t happen (at the bar),” she said. 

“But it is the responsibility of the person serving the alcohol to check the ID.”

Linda’s Bar and Grill owner Christopher Carini said his bar only cards at the point of sale.

“Really, having someone at the door is useful for capacity and security maintenance but not for carding,” he said. 

“We’ve always carded at the point of sale, and that’s how we’ve always trained our people.”



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