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The Importance of Checking ID's During the Holiday Season

Contact: Andrea Miller (517) 322-5898
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

(December 6, 2011) With all the social activities that accompany the holiday season it is particularly important to closely check the identification of anyone who is purchasing or consuming alcohol. With older siblings home from college or visiting family get-togethers it is tempting for a younger person to try and use someone else's ID or to ask an of-age friend or family member to purchase alcohol on their behalf. To curb the dangers associated with underage and excessive drinking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission offers retailers the following tips:

  • Always check the identification (ID) of a person who appears less than 21 years old.  The use of false ID is a serious problem for retail licensees and their employees.  Minors attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages sometimes use altered, counterfeit, or someone else's ID.  You may be able to deter the use of false ID by informing minors that under MCL 436.1703(2) an attempt to purchase liquor by using false ID is a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment up to 93 days and/or a fine of up to $100.

  • Examine the ID closely. Alterations in driver licenses or ID cards can often be detected with a flashlight.  Smudges, alterations and misalignments of seals is apparent and cards issued after June 1987 also have a watermark style coating that is high gloss and more difficult to alter. Can the person answer questions based on the details of the ID, such as address or the birth date?  What's the correct spelling of your middle name? What street address is shown on your ID? What's your zip code for the address shown?

  • There are two types of Michigan driver licenses currently in use.  Some people may renew these by mail (receiving a validation sticker), so both of these types will stay in use for several years. To view examples of the licenses currently issued in Michigan visit our "Retail Guide" on our website.

  • If an "Under 21" applicant obtains a new or duplicate license six months in advance of his/her 21st birthday, the license will have the "Under 21" designation - all ages should be verified by checking the date of birth. A "D" at the end of the number in the lower right corner indicates that the license or ID card is a DUPLICATE.

  • Make sure the photo, height and eye color match the person in front of you, if any do not match ask for a second piece of ID.  People with fake ID's rarely carry back-up identification.

"We want retailers, parents, friends, and relatives to know that if they have any doubt about the validity of someone's ID or any doubt about the person's age they have the right to refuse to serve or sell alcohol to them.  The loss of one legitimate sale is significantly less than the cost of a liquor violation both in the short term and long term operation of your business, family, and friendships," said Andy Deloney, Chairman of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

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