It is the responsibility of ABC licensees not to sell alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person. Sale of alcohol to an intoxicated individual may result in a criminal summons for the individual seller and an administrative violation against the license.
“Intoxicated” means a condition in which a person has drunk enough alcoholic beverages to observably affect his or her manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior.
A primary way to determine if a person is intoxicated is to engage him or her in conversation. Don’t just ask the person how many drinks they’ve had, ask other questions. This allows the server to better observe the person.
ABC special agents’ primary concern is for public safety. If a person is intoxicated at a licensed establishment, the seller should cut the person off immediately and employ a containment strategy, such as:
Do not allow an intoxicated patron to remain indefinitely at your establishment without taking preventative measures.
If a patron is cut off in the restaurant can he be served in his room?
No. Alcoholic beverages may not be sold to an intoxicated person.
What will the special agent do if I cut a person off and they are sitting at my bar waiting for a ride or taxi?
You may not serve alcoholic beverages to a patron to the point he or she becomes intoxicated. However, if the patron has been cut off prior to becoming intoxicated and attempts are made to secure him a ride, there would not be a violation.
Revised February 25, 2015
Virginia ABC offers free online training to help managers, sellers and servers to become more responsible and better understand ABC laws, rules and regulations. For more information, contact Education and Prevention, (804) 977-7440 or email@example.com.