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Front Page » March 29, 2005 » Local News » Utah, 17 states with similar alcohol statutes operate as ...
Published 3,846 days ago

Utah, 17 states with similar alcohol statutes operate as control system

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Scott and Travis Gray unload cases of beer to stock up a local convenience store along the freeway just before the Easter holiday. Merchants do a brisk business during Easter because many people consider it the first camping and outdoors holiday of the spring/summer season. Liquor laws that pertain to beer in Utah are different from those that apply to hard liquor, but in all cases persons must be 21 years old to drink.

Utah has the reputation of enforcing strict alcohol regulations and restrictions.

While it may seem that the liquor laws in Utah are extremely strict, the regulations in several other states are very similar.

In fact, Utah is one of 18 states in the country that are part of a control system.

Numerous places serve liquor in Utah. Many restaurants have a liquor license. The eateries range from establishments that sell beer only to restaurants that offer full service bars.

The only catch to getting a drink in a restaurant, besides the age restriction, is that all alcoholic drinks must be served in conjunction with a purchased food order, noted the Utah investigation bureau.

Complimentary items such as chips, bread, pretzels and popcorn are not in compliance with the statute. Individuals must order and pay for a menu item.

When people are just looking for a cold beer and a pool table, there are several beer taverns throughout the state. Beer bars do not require memberships. But all people who enter the bars must be 21 years of age or older.

The final example of establishments authorized to serve alcoholic beverages in Utah are private clubs.

But consumers should keep in mind that all private clubs in Utah require a membership, sponsorship or the purchase of a temporary guest pass for admission, pointed out the state investigation bureau

There are several typical questions people ask about Utah's liquor laws, explained the criminal investigations agency. The questions include:

•Can people legally get drunk in Utah?

No, it violates the state's criminal codes.

The state code specifies that "a person is guilty of intoxication if he is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, to a degree that the person may endanger himself or another, in a public place or in a private place where he unreasonably disturbs another person."

A violation of the law is a class C misdemeanor.

•Is it against the law to permit another person to get drunk?

Yes, it is.

The Utah code states that "a person may not permit any other person to become intoxicated or any intoxicated person to consume alcoholic beverage in any premises of which the person is the owner, tenant, or occupant, or in any chartered bus or limousine of which the person is the owner or operator.

A violation of the section of the code is a criminal infraction.

In addition, state statute specifies that "a person may not operate a restaurant, airport lounge, private club, on premise beer retailer outlet, or similar establishment that allows patrons, customers, members, guests, visitors or other persons to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages on the premises, except as provided by this title or the rules of the commission."

Local approval is required before a alcohol beverage control commission license is granted. However, only a local county license is required for the sale of beer for off premises consumption. For example grocery stores, gas stations, or convenience stores do not need a DABC license.

Carbon County residents should remember that people must be 21 before they can legally drink in Utah, stressed the state bureau of investigation

The statewide rule applies to taverns, private clubs, restaurants and all businesses.

A person must be 21 to enter a tavern. The only age restrictions for entering a private club are the rules listed in the clubs bylaws.

Restaurants have no age restriction for admission.

Who is prohibited from purchasing and/or possessing alcoholic beverages?

In a nut-shell, minors, intoxicated persons and criminals may not purchase or possess alcoholic beverages, noted the state law enforcement agency.

Utah code prohibits people from selling, offering to sell or supplying alcoholic beverages and product to individuals younger than the age of 21.

In addition, state statute prohibits selling or supplying alcoholic beverages or products to people who are apparently under the influence of intoxicant and interdicted individuals.

An interdicted person is anyone who is prohibited by law or a court order from consuming alcohol or from associating with subjects who are consuming alcohol, explained the bureau of investigations.

•Can Utahns legally purchase alcohol and transport it back to the state for consumption?


It is illegal for residents to travel to different states, purchase alcohol and bring the products back to Utah.

In addition, state statute prohibits Utahns from purchasing or possessing beer in containers larger than two liters unless the individuals are retailers authorized to dispense the alcoholic beverage on draft for consumption on the premises.

•Can Utahns legally bring alcoholic beverages into a bar or a restaurant?

No, with one exception. The exception is cork finished wine in restaurants and clubs, provided that the restaurant or club is a DABC licensee, in which case the cork finished wine must be delivered to the server for a wine setup.

•Are happy hours legal in Utah.

No. The state's criminal codes prohibit taverns, clubs and restaurants from dispensing discounted or free liquor for promotional purposes.

The promotional purposes include happy hours, pointed out the state law enforcement agency.

•Can the employees of a tavern, private club or restaurant drink alcoholic beverages while working?

No. It is illegal for any employee of a liquor licensee to drink alcoholic beverages while on duty.

As stated in the Utah code, an employee of a licensee, while on duty, may not consume an alcoholic beverage or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

•Is a person required by law to provide valid identification before purchasing an alcoholic beverage?


State statute specifies that consumers must present an identification card upon request from people authorized by law to sell or otherwise handle alcoholic beverages.

Identification must also be presented to peace officers to determine whether an individual consuming or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages is 21 years of age.

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