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Why Do I Need A Lawyer at the Beer Board?
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Why Do I Need A Lawyer at the Beer Board?

06.07.12
Smart business owners often navigate the labyrinth of liquor laws without legal counsel. Why should folks spend for legal counsel?

A recent case before the Nashville Beer Board involving a grocery that was accused of selling to a minor answers the query.

At a hearing on a sale to a minor, a local grocery store plead guilty with explanation. Pleading guilty with explanation is the way a permit holder admits it messed up and sold to a minor, but wants to tell the board how they try to prevent sales to minors.

The guilty with explanation defense does not reduce penalties, but allows the permittee to vent a bit and hopefully pave the way for a better defense for a subsequent sale to minor.

The grocery plead guilty with explanation. But after witnesses testified, a beer board member moved to dismiss the charge because the minor used a fake ID to purchase the beer. If the motion was adopted, the charge would have been dismissed.  The grocery would have been found not guilty.

Because the grocery had already plead guilty with explanation, the board could not dismiss the charge. The grocery legally had admitted that it was guilty.  

Instead of dismissing the charge, the beer board imposed probation. Although the penalty did not affect beer sales, it goes down on the permanent record of the grocery.

The grocery could have easily avoided a citation if it was represented by qualified legal counsel.

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