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RAMP. Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to frequently asked questions designed to help you make decisions concerning the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP.).

Q:  What is a standard drink?
A:  A standard drink is a 12 oz. regular or light beer, 12 oz. wine or malt cooler, 5 oz. Glass of table wine or a 1 ½ oz. of 80 proof liquor. Drinks that contain more than one shot are not considered standard drinks.

Q:  What is the difference between light beer and regular beer?
A:  The main difference between light and regular beer is calories. Light beer has fewer calories than regular beer.

Q:  How many drinks can the body eliminate per hour? At what rate does the body eliminate alcohol?
A:  The body will eliminate approximately 1 standard drink per hour. This is a constant rate, both during and after drinking.

Q:  What are valid forms of ID?
A:  The only acceptable forms of ID in PA are a valid photo driver's license or state ID card, a valid photo armed forces ID, and a valid photo passport or travel visa.

Q:  Can dancing or any other physical activity help the body to eliminate alcohol?
A:  Physical activity doesn’t eliminate alcohol from the blood stream. It may cause a person to perspire, but perspiration, urination, and respiration only eliminates 10% of the alcohol consumed. The only thing that sobers up a person is time. The body eliminates approximately 1 standard drink an hour.

Q:  What is visible intoxication?
A:  Visible intoxication is defined as the level of impairment that any person can detect by noticing the various visible signs of intoxication.

Q:  What are some factors that determine visible intoxication?
A:  Some of the factors that affect visible intoxication are: tolerance, health, food intake, and the rate and amount of alcohol consumed.

Q:  What determines if someone is visibly intoxicated?
A:  If the outward obvious signs of intoxication are noticed, a determination and judgment call must be made at that point as to whether or not the person is visibly intoxicated.

Q:  What are some of the signs of visible intoxication?
A:  Some examples of the signs of visible intoxication that a server will notice can include: glassy or bloodshot eyes, loud or slurred speech, lack of coordination or concentration, spilling a drink, staggered walk, etc.

Q:  What is legal intoxication?
A:  In Pennsylvania, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08% or greater is all that is necessary to be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Q:  How is legal intoxication determined?
A:  Legal intoxication is determined by performing a blood, breath, or urine test.

Q:  Can a server determine if a patron is legally intoxicated?
A:  No, a server can only detect visible intoxication.

Q:  What is the correlation between visible and legal intoxication?
A:  There is no correlation between the two. Visible intoxication can occur at either a high or low BAC.

Q:  What are some factors that affect legal intoxication?
A:  Some of the factors that affect legal intoxication are: weight, gender, health, food intake, and the rate and amount of alcohol consumed.

Q:  May a server serve an alcoholic beverage to a visibly intoxicated person?
A:  No, the server would be breaking the law and can be held liable both criminally and civilly.

Q:  What is administrative liability?
A:  Administrative liability is a violation of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.

Q:  Who can be held liable under administrative liability?
A:  The licensees (owners) and their employees can be held liable under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.

Q:  What administrative liability would the licensee face if a VIP were served alcohol?
A:  The licensee may receive a fine ranging from $1000-$5000. The liquor license can also be suspended or revoked. The Administrative Law Judge may also require the licensee to undergo RAMP training.

Q:  What is civil liability?
A:  Civil liability allows one person to sue another in civil court. This is often referred to as “Dram Shop Liability”.

Q:  What is Dram Shop?
A:  Dram Shop is third party liability. Dram Shop Laws make it possible for a 2nd and 3rd party to sue any person for any death, injury, or property damage caused by the service of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or minor.

Q:  Who is the first party?
A:  The first party is the owner of the liquor licensed establishment and possibly the manager who was on duty.

Q:  Who are the second and third parties?
A:  The second party is the visibly intoxicated person. The third party is the victim(s) of the incident.

Q:  Why can individual servers and managers be held liable in these cases?
A:  The server can be held liable because they had control of the alcohol and served it directly to the visibly intoxicated person. The manager may be held liable because it happened during their watch.

Q:  How can it be proven that a visibly intoxicated person was served?
A:  It can be proven by eyewitness accounts.

Q:  How long do people have to file a Dram Shop lawsuit?
A:  They have 2 years from the date of the incident to file the lawsuit.

Q:  Are the licensees and servers expected to remember the incident 2 years from the date?
A:  Yes, they are expected to remember the incidents that occur in the establishments.

Q:  How can they remember something that happened 2 years ago?
A:  They can fill out an incident documentation form or keep their video surveillance tapes for 2 years.

Q:  What is an Incident Documentation Form?
A:  An Incident Documentation Form is a form that is used to write down specific information about the incident and those involved. It simply can act as a written reminder of the incident.

Q:  When, why, and how should an Incident Report be completed?
A:  An incident documentation form should be completed any time an incident occurs. Just shutting someone off is enough to document. It should be completed with as much information as possible and as soon as the incident occurs.

Q:  How long should an Incident Report be kept?
A:  It should be kept for at least 2 years and up to 5 years to show a pattern of usage.

Q:  How can servers slow down service to a potential VIP?
A:  They can take time serving the drinks. They can offer a free non-alcoholic drink or water. They can offer food or try to get the person involved in another activity besides drinking.

Q:  How should a server shut off a VIP?
A:  A server should be courteous to and concerned about the person they are shutting off. They should never be offensive or use derogatory words. They should also offer safe driving alternatives.

Q:  Who is considered a minor?
A:  According to the Pennsylvania Law, a minor is any person under the age of 21.

Q:  How can you tell if someone is under 21?
A:  The only sure way is to card them.

Q:  Who should be carded?
A:  Anyone who looks under the age of 30 should be carded.

Q:  How can they determine if the ID presented to them is real or fake?
A:  They should practice using the F.E.A.R. method of carding.

Q:  What is the FEAR method?
A:  Feel, Examine, Ask, and Return or refuse the identification presented.

Q:  What do they feel for on the ID?
A:  The person should feel for any imperfections with the lamination or the addition of a photograph.

Q:  What do they examine on the ID?
A:  They should examine the font, the numbers, state seal or hologram, the background, the expiration date, the driver’s license number, and the photograph-making sure it matches the person handing it to them.

Q:  What kinds of questions should they ask?
A:  They can ask questions pertaining to the information contained on the ID such as: zip code, address, middle initial, etc.

Q:  Why does the server have to return the ID if it is fake?
A:  Even though the ID is considered to be fake, it is not the servers property. The licensee/server should call the police while still in possession of the ID, then return it after confirmation.

Q:  How do they know if an out of state license is real or fake?
A:  They may use the ID checking Guide to aid them. They may also use an ID swipe machine to read the magnetic strip on the back of the ID.

Q:  Where may they purchase an ID Checking Guide?
A:  The Driver’s License Guide Company at 1-800-227-8827

Q:  What is the PLCB 931 Declaration of Age Card?
A:  This card is used by the licensee to provide proof of whom they carded and the form of ID presented.

Q:  Who should fill out a 931 card?
A:  Anyone that is carded should complete the card.

Q:  How long do they keep the cards on file?
A:  The cards should be kept for a minimum of 2 years in an index card file.

Q:  Do owners face administrative liability if a minor is served in their establishment?
A:  Yes, they may receive a fine for $1,000 to $5,000, and a possible suspension or revocation of their liquor license. The Administrative Law Judge may also require the licensee to undergo RAMP training.

Q:  What criminal liabilities do people face if they willingly and knowingly serve minors?
A:  $1,000 for their first offense and $2,500 for any subsequent offenses with an additional jail term up to one year per offense.

Q:  Does the Dram Shop Law pertain to the service of alcohol to a minor?
A:  Yes, the licensee, server, and manager can be held liable for any death, injury or property damage caused by a minor who was served alcohol.

Q:  Who do the minors have to be with to be in a licensed establishment? How can a minor legally be on a licensed premises?
A:  They must be accompanied by a parent, court appointed legal guardian, or with proper supervision.

Q:  What is the definition of “proper supervision”?
A:  Proper supervision is a person who is 25 years of age or older, and is directly responsible for the care and conduct of the minors while on the licensed premises, and who keeps the minor within his or her sight or hearing at all times. If the licensee, employee or anyone else paid by the licensee is performing as proper supervision then that person may not perform any other employment-related duties; otherwise proper supervision shall consist of unpaid volunteers.

Q:  What is a social gathering?
A:  A social gathering is a gathering of people at a licensed establishment, even if the gathering is exclusively for minors, in which ALL of the following apply. 1) No alcohol may be served anywhere on the licensed premises. 2) All alcohol must either be removed from the premises or secured under lock and key during the social gathering. 3) Written notice must be provided to the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, at least forty- eight (48) hours in advance of the event. *If a minor is attending a social gathering as defined above, then no other adult supervision is required for the event.

Q:  What is the Pizza Hut Exception?
A:  An exception to the law that allows minors to frequent a licensed premises for the purpose of eating food.

Q:  What are the specific rules that apply to the Pizza Hut Exception?
A:  The licensee must be able to demonstrate that 50% or more of their total sales are food and non-alcoholic beverages combined and 50% or less is alcohol. The minors must be seated in the dining area or the take out area of the establishment. No alcohol is to be served at the table or booth in which the minor is seated, unless they are properly accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or under proper supervision.

Q:  Are minors permitted to sit at the bar with their parents?
A:  Yes, unless the licensee has a house policy preventing this to occur.

Q:  What time do the minors have to exit the licensed premises?
A:  At the time their supervision leaves, unless the licensee has a house policy saying that the minors have to leave at a certain time.

Q:   Can a licensee take a suspected VIPs keys?
A:  As it would probably seem appropriate to confiscate a patrons keys if he/she has had too much to drink, sanctions in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code deems this behavior illegal. This will follow along the same lines as taking someone's property without their consent. If you ask a patron if you can have the keys and there is obvious consent from him or her, then there would be no problem with this. There are also ways to prevent drunk driving without detaining a patron and/or confiscating personal property. First, you can start by offering food and non-alcoholic beverages soda, coffee etc., in an attempt to "kill time". If regardless of your best efforts the patron refuses the other options from you and insists on driving then it will be your responsibility to phone the police and document the incident.

Q:  Can I transport liquor across state lines if the transporting of this liquor is purely for consumption purposes? For example, if I purchase a case of wine in Virginia can I take it to my parents home in Pennsylvania for the purposes of consuming it either during a party or holiday? Would the same answer apply if the wine were to be consumed at a private club?
A:  Initially, please be advised that it is the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement ("Bureau"), and not the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ("Board"), which enforces the liquor laws in Pennsylvania. This office is authorized to issue opinions to Board licensees that are binding on the Bureau. Since you are not a Board licensee, the following is offered for your guidance and information only. Generally, section 491(11) of the Liquor Code prohibits any person, other than the Board, a manufacturer, the holder of a sacramental wine license or importer's license, from bringing liquor, including wine, into Pennsylvania. [47 P.S. § 4-491(11)]. Similarly, section 491(2) prohibits any entity, other than those listed above, from possessing or transporting any liquor or alcohol within the Commonwealth that was not purchased from a Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits Shoppe or limited winery. [47 P.S. § 4-491(2)]. Unless you hold one of the licenses stated herein, you cannot bring liquor from another state into Pennsylvania. The purpose for which the wine is to be brought into Pennsylvania or the location in Pennsylvania where it would be consumed are immaterial. If you will be visiting relatives or attending a function in Pennsylvania you may be able to “special order” the wines that you wish to acquire. Please contact the Bureau of Logistics, at (717) 787-6646 for further information on special orders.

Q:  Can alcohol be brought in to an establishment that has a liquor license?
A:  There is no PLCB Liquor code violation if a patron brings alcohol into a licensed establishment as long as the alcohol is legally procured. This means that the alcohol must be purchased from a Liquor Board approved vendor. The alcohol must be purchased in Pennsylvania. Most licensees will not permit alcohol to be brought into their establishment because they are in the business to sell alcohol, therefore, a licensee can prohibit a patron from bringing his/her own alcohol on premise.

Q:  What must a Licensee use to defend themselves against a charge of sales to minors? Will using one of these defenses really help a Licensee?
A:  It is recommended that a licensee document each time they card an individual. In order for a licensee to defend themselves against a charge of sales to minors they must be able to provide that: (1)The minor was required to produce a valid form of identification as defined by the Liquor Code; (2)One of the following three forms of documentation were used: (a) a signed statement by the person to whom alcoholic beverages will be provided in the form required by the Liquor Code (Declaration of Age Card); (b) or a photograph, photocopy, or other visual or video representation of the identification card used by the person to whom alcoholic beverages will be provided ; (c) or use of a transaction scan device as described in the Liquor Code; (3) that the documents were relied upon in good faith. The Liquor Code states that "no penalty shall be imposed on a licensee, licensee's employee or Pennsylvania Liquor Store Employee for serving alcohol to a minor if the licensee or employee can establish that the minor was required to produce a valid form of identification and that one of the forms of documentation were used and relied upon in good faith."

Q:  How many minors may the person acting as "proper supervisor", chaperone?
A:  a.) If a minor is frequenting a licensed premises with proper supervision,each supervisor can supervise up to 20 minors. b.) Licensees located in cities of the first class (i.e. popolation of 1 million or greater) – each supervisor can supervise up to 5 minors. c.) If the minors are on the licensed premises as part of a school-endorsed function,(i.e. proms) then each supervisor can supervise up to 50 minors.

Q:  Can a minor purchase a non-alcoholic beer?
A:  A minor may not purchase a non-alcoholic beer. A non-alcoholic beer is any beverage intended to be marketed or sold as a non-alcoholic beer, having some alcohol content but not more than .5% alcohol by volume. It is also recommended that non-alcoholic drinks that are purchased by minors should appear differently than their alcoholic counterparts. This can be accomplished by serving them in a different style glass so that they are easily identifiable by all employees.

Q:  How can it be proven that a visibly intoxicated person was served?
A:  It can be proven by eyewitness accounts.

Q:  How should a server shut off a VIP?
A:  A server should be courteous to and concerned about the person they are shutting off. They should never be offensive or use derogatory words. They should also offer safe driving alternatives.

Q:  Does anyone who is consuming alcoholic beverages in a licensed establishment have to have on their person valid identification proving they are at least 21 years of age? If the above does not apply to everyone does it apply to anyone who is a member of a club (such as VFW, American Legion)and is in the club consuming alsoholic beverages?
A:  There is nothing in the Liquor Code that says every person must have ID on them when in a licensed premises, however, it it the Licensees responsibility to make sure that the person they are serving is at least 21 yrs. of age and the best way to do that is to request ID. In the case of regular patrons over 21 who do not have the ID on them, if there would be a question or problem, once it is proven that they are 21, the Licensee would be OK. To avoid this problem, the Licensee can make a house policy stating that the patrons must have ID on them at all times in order to be served. --The same is true for private clubs with the exception being their Bi-laws. If it says in there bi-laws that they must have ID on them, whether it be their driver's license or club membership card then they must. C Licensees (clubs) can be cited for breaking their bi-laws.

Q:  What are the hours a club can serve liquor and when do you have to leave?
A:  According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code (Title 40), clubs must have last call no later than 3:00 am and ALL patrons MUST leave premise no later than 3:30 am. Their shall be no sales of alcohol after 3:00 am either for on-premise or off-premise consumption. All other non-club liquor licensees must have last call at 2:00 am and vacate premise no later than 2:30 am. Having said this, ANY establishment can propose house policies (rules) that mandate last call and closing at an earlier time.

Q:  Is it legal to serve a patron more than one alcoholic drink at a time (backing up drinks)?
A:  It is not illegal to serve more than one alcoholic drink at a time, a practice often referred to as "stacking", but it is not recommended.

Q:  Can clubs sell non-returnable bottles of beer or do they have to be returnables?
A:  There is nothing in the Liquor Code that addresses the distinction between what type bottle your beer comes in. It would be a personal or convenience decision for your club.

Q:  What is a Transaction Scan Device?
A:  A transaction scan device is a device capable of deciphering in an electonically readable format the information encoded on the magnetic strip or bar code of and indentification card.

Q:  How can servers slow down service to a potential VIP?
A:  They can take time serving the drinks. They can offer a free non-alcoholic drink or water. They can offer food or try to get the person involved in another activity besides drinking.

Q:  Do owners face administrative liability if a minor is served in their establishment?
A:  Yes, they may receive a fine for $1,000 to $5,000, and a possible suspension or revocation of their liquor license. The Administrative Law Judge may also require the licensee to undergo RAMP training.

Q:  Does the Dram Shop Law pertain to the service of alcohol to a minor?
A:  Yes, the licensee, server, and manager can be held liable for any death, injury or property damage caused by a minor who was served alcohol.

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