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When I purchase liquor does a drug store have to enter my license number? Ask the lawyer – Daily News

Q:  The drug store I go to (part of a major chain) insists on entering an identification card’s alphanumeric sequence into the cash register of every person purchasing liquor. Management tells me this is mandated by law, but other stores (including the market) do not require that step. Recording the license data seems very intrusive. Is there law on this?

C.F., Long Beach

A: In order to purchase liquor at a California retail store, you must show an identification card or record that provides certain information: (a) It was issued by a U.S. government agency and contains (b) the name of the person, (c) his or her date of birth, (d) a photograph, (e) in most instances a physical description (military identification can be an exception) and (f) is currently valid. Thus, a business can scan or swipe a driver’s license or other identification card into any electronic device to verify age or authenticity thereof.

Ron Sokol

California Civil Code Section 1798.90.1 provides that a business may scan or swipe a driver’s license to (among other things) “collect or disclose personal information that is required for reporting, investigating, or preventing fraud, abuse, or material misrepresentation.”

Thus, you may want to ask the drug store why they believe it is required to enter the license’s alphanumeric sequence. Research suggests it is something they may do, not something they must do.

Q:  We sold liquor to an individual who we honestly thought was 21, but it turned out that he was not. Are we in trouble or is there a defense?

J.P., Costa Mesa

A:  Selling alcohol to a minor is a strict liability offense, which means the prosecutor does not have to prove that the defendant had criminal intent in order to obtain a conviction. This is covered in California Business & Professions Code Section 25658.

But there still are potential defenses.

Mistake of fact, for example, can be a defense if the retailer is able to demonstrate that he or she reasonably relied on a bona fide (in other words, genuine) government-issued ID card, such as a California driver’s license, U.S. passport or identification card. The focus is whether reliance on the identification provided was actually reasonable.  Another defense is entrapment, which involves excessive governmental involvement in the “sting operation” against a person who otherwise was not predisposed to sell alcohol to a minor. Did the government set you up, or otherwise it would not have happened?

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