October 30, 2014

Clerks involved in sting to receive citations rather than misdemeanors

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — Local clerks involved with selling alcohol to minors during an undercover sting operation on March 24, will be issued civil infractions rather than their original misdemeanor citations.

Undersheriff Donald McIntyre of the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department said rather than facing jail time, the clerks may have to pay the $100 infraction.

“We were writing citations under the misdemeanor code, and we were unaware that under the circumstances, the clerks were to be charged with a civil infraction,” he said.

According to Michigan law, a person who knowingly sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless the violation is the result of an undercover operation. The law states that if the clerk is responsible for the sale of alcohol to a minor, they may be ordered to pay a civil fine of no more that $100.

McIntyre said that if a clerk was found to have sold to a minor and caught, while not during a sting operation, at that point, they could face a misdemeanor charge.

Eleven local retailers were cited during the undercover sting operation. McIntyre said that businesses where the violations occurred are still subject to violations from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Names of those businesses have not yet been released to the public.

McIntyre said during an interview last week that four retailers never checked the identification of the undercover minor; four retailers looked at identification before selling alcohol to the minor. One retailer looked at the identification and stated, “I’ll let it go this time.” One retailer looked at the identification and stated, “Good enough for me.” One retailer looked at the identification and stated, “Close enough.”

Of the five stores cited, one is located in Sterling, one in Standish, one in Melita, one in Alger and one in AuGres. Of the bars cited, five are located in Standish while one is in AuGres. McIntyre said one Standish bar has now been cited for serving alcohol to a minor for a second time during a sting operation.

McIntyre said that the Sheriff’s department will continue to perform sting operations at the request of the community.

“These results will not change how we do business,” he said.

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