There are many people in Philadelphia who enjoy consuming alcohol. As such, there are many bars, restaurants and various stores where people can purchase alcohol. These establishments can make a significant amount of money selling alcohol, but there are rules they must follow. The most important rule is that they cannot sell alcohol to individuals who are under the age of 21.
There are significant penalties for an establishment selling alcohol to a minor as well as penalties for the individual who sold the alcohol to the underage person. However, it is not an easy rule to enforce as there are many more places to purchase alcohol than there are police in the city. Therefore, from time to time, the police conduct compliance checks to ensure that underage drinking is not occurring. These are generally conducted by sending a minor into a place and having them attempt to purchase alcohol.
Certain rules must be followed by the police when conducting these compliance checks. First, the person they send in must be at least 18 years old and must be an employee of the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. They must complete training and be under the supervision of an officer who is over 21 years old. The individual must not consume alcohol, even if they are served.
After the compliance check, any establishment which passed must be notified in writing that they passed. If the establishment failed the compliance test, they must be immediately notified by the supervising officer verbally and also in writing within 10 days of the compliance check.
There are many compliance checks conducted each year in Philadelphia. These must be conducted according to certain regulations. If these are not followed, the person who fails by selling an underage individual alcohol may have defenses available to them. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Experienced attorneys understand these laws and may be a useful resource for those facing charges.
Source: Pennsylvania State Legislature, "Title 18 § 6308," accessed on July 13, 2015