September 12, 2013

Not a Lawyer, But I Play One on This Blog

I routinely roll 3 stop signs on a daily basis. All three are on private property. That's not an excuse, just a shrewd calculation about whether my violation will be targeted and enforced. I also have a vague idea about the consequences. I won't lose my license. I may get a warning. There may be a fine that I may be able to mitigate with some driving school. Circumstances escalate if the stop sign are on the side of a bus or my actions cause physical harm or damage to property.

Relax Joe. It's an analogy with literary license.
I come to a complete stop every damn time.
Rolling a stop sign is illegal. My frequency in doing so multiple times doesn't change that. You can't throw logic at it either. Is my slow roll any less safe than a 2 second second stop? Aren't we technically always in motion? Still illegal.

In the beer world, there are plenty of laws that seem to defy logic. There are plenty that are routinely transgressed. It may be because a calculation (as above) or because of ignorance of the laws or perhaps a lack of understanding of the consequences. I think it's best to understand what the law is and have a discussion about the implications instead of just saying arguing that it's done all the time or that the law makes no sense and therefore it isn't a law.

When I communicate my opinion on what a law states, it's not necessarily my position. I believe that certain laws and policies need to be challenged, especially in cases of ambiguity or where they are counter to public good. Start with a knowledge of the law and not an opinion on what most people do. Don't be dismissive. You are part of the process. You can have a role in legislation, policy and enforcement.

For discussion, here is a partial list of things that are currently illegal in AZ that I may or may not have witnessed (or have done myself) first hand.

It is illegal to possess glass containers into municipal parks in Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa. Glass is restricted in Arizona State parks. That means no bottled beer or glass growlers.

No spirituous liquor, beer, or wine allowed in Gilbert parks or parking lots, it's illegal to possess. No glass for that matter too.

It's illegal for a bartender to buy you a drink (see 13). I bet that no one complains about that transgression of the law.
Sometimes we cross and cross hard.

Bringing a bottle of wine in a gift bag to restaurant as a birthday gift or at a co-worker's going away party at a bar or restaurant? That's not legal (see 40). This law is broken almost every Friday everywhere.

Ambitious homebrewers giving your beer to a pub owner, brewer, bartender or brethren in the confines of a license property? You're just as illegal as the wine in a gift bag scofflaws above. Perhaps more-so as that bottle tends to get cracked.

That bottle of something we can't get from out of state in your local tavern's keg cooler. Not legal.

Outdoor drinking games in the parking lot? Not without an extension of premises license.

As a beer server at a festival, not collecting a ticket for your buddy? Not legal and you can be fined. This is one of those, "but everybody does it" things. They shouldn't do it and you shouldn't ask them to. The DLLC considers this to be a liquor violation and theft. At a recent festival briefing, pourers were told they would be arrested and prosecuted for this.

Having a charitable cause does not make you less likely to be cited for a violation.
Source AZ DLLC

Nobody in craft beer has ever been overserved ever by anybody.

Another one from the I do it all the time file: Do you know which states allow you to ship wine to? Beer is even more restrictive and I know of no comprehensive source. It's probably illegal anyways because you need an adult signature. If you require an adult signature, you will need to be a licensed and contracted shipper with UPS or FedEx. USPS? No. All of this is illegal.

Driving while impaired to the slightest degree? You don't have to exceed the BAC threshold. If you are deemed impaired, your actions is illegal. How about with a 0.0% BAC? Yep.

Driving through Northeastern Arizona on the way to Durango or Denver? Want to see Canyon de Chelly and stay at the resort. Hit the hotel restaurant for a cold one? What no? No beer at the Chinle Bashas either? What the... guess I'll pop one out of the cooler... Nope. Illegal. Illegal to consume or possess in the Navajo nation. 

Ever been in a bar not drinking around closing time and they lock the doors to keep people out? Illegal.

You're in Costco and you see an establishment owner buy a lot of liquor. More liquor than seemingly reasonable personal use? Violation.

March madness pool in a bar? Depends. Do you know what makes it unlawful? Fantasy Football with cash prizes? Nope.

EDIT: Finally, If you write a blog, you must make explicit to your readers any material relationships you have with commercial entities. If you are offered free goods or services in exchange for coverage your readers should know about it. This year this includes twitter, instagram, vine or any other microblogging site. If you get free beer for reviews, YOU MUST DISCLOSE IT. This in a FTC directive.

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