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Michael’s Law now in effect in Georgia

| Oct 14, 2016 | Underage Drinking |

As homecoming week at the University of Georgia unfolds, it’s a good time to review a law that took effect this summer that can impact the festivities.

On July 1, Michael’s Law went into effect, preventing those who are younger than 21 from being employed as bouncers in bars, among other things. The law was named for Michael Gatto, a student at Georgia Southern University who died in a Statesboro bar after getting into an altercation with a bouncer. The bouncer, who was 20 at the time, was sentenced this week to 20 years in prison.

Below are additional provisions of the law:

— Only those 21 and older are allowed to enter establishments where over 75 percent of the total sales are alcohol purchases. This replaces the former requirement that those 18 to 20 could enter bars but not drink.

— No one under 21 will be permitted to work in bars as bartenders, bouncers or in any other capacity.

— The authorities in each county are now held to higher communication standards, as they must notify the Georgia Department of Revenue, the agency responsible for issuing alcohol licenses, whenever they issue alcohol-related citations. This allows the establishment’s alcohol licenses to be revoked, as there is now a 45-day limit for reporting citations. Penalties for violations include fines of $750 for a first offense. Subsequent violations within a three-year span result in the bar’s license to sell alcohol being revoked.

— It is now illegal to manufacture, possess or use powdered alcohol.

— Bar employees have to be trained under the stipulations of the new law.

These tougher rules can bring about more citations for minor in possession of alcohol for university students and others. If you get charged with this offense, you have the right to present a stalwart defense to the charge.

Source: The Red & Black, “5 things to know about Michael’s Law,” Alex Vanden Heuvel, Casey Williams, accessed Oct. 14, 2016