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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

If you’re one of the chosen few who’s licensed to sell or serve alcohol, you have a tremendous amount of power. You’re a gatekeeper of legal states of recreationally-altered consciousness. Without your judicious distribution of the social lubricant, the sporting events would feel less meaningful, the jokes would be a little less funny, and the prospective mates of the world would all be considerably less attractive. You’re an unsung hero, but a hero nonetheless, and as we’ve all learned from Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility.

Each state has an administrative agency responsible for regulating the sale and possession of alcohol, but no two are identical. In Indiana, this falls to the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, which also lists three other official functions: 1) protecting the economic welfare, health, peace, and morals of Hoosiers; 2) regulating the sale, possession, and distribution of tobacco products; and 3) providing for the raising of revenue.

The Commission supervises and oversees permit compliance for every licensed bartender, waiter, and clerk associated with the sale or service of alcohol in Indiana. As in most cases, administrative agency rules and regulations appear unnecessarily complex and difficult to navigate. If you sell or serve alcohol, though, knowing the substance of these rules is important.

If you violate a condition or neglect an obligation, it can affect your license status. This includes being charged with a DUI / OVWI. The Commission has absolute discretion to approve, deny, renew, suspend, or revoke any alcohol permit or license.

For the sake of simplicity, this blog is focused on employee permits, a topic which covers liquor store clerks, bartenders, servers, and managers whose establishments serve or sell alcohol. The easiest way to explain the impact of a DUI / OVWI charge is that it’s unequivocally bad. If you’re serving any sort of criminal sentence—including parole or probation—the Commission is not allowed to issue an alcohol permit to you.

Likewise if you have two unrelated DUI / OVWI convictions in the past 10 years, unless the sentence for your most recent conviction was completed at least two years before you applied for your alcohol permit. Furthermore, the Commission “shall” revoke your permit if you’re convicted of DUI / OVWI.

If your permit status is set to change, you’ll receive paper notice from the Commission. This will be mailed to your last known address, so it’s important to make sure information is up-to-date. Your license or permit will then be scheduled for revocation six months after the date of your disqualifying conviction.

If this is your first DUI / OVWI, these six months represent an opportunity to retain your livelihood. You’ll be allowed to keep your alcohol license if you complete a certified substance abuse treatment or education program and submit a prescribed form to  the Commission. If you fail to submit the form, you’ll probably need to find another job.

If you or a loved one is dealing with professional complexities resulting from a DUI / OVWI charge, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!