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Overage drinking

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


The Indiana State Excise Police serve as the law enforcement arm of the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. If you are or ever were an underage consumer of alcoholic beverages, then you likely know a little bit about them. Rumors of excise officers visiting campus seemed commonplace when I was in college. Once students turn twenty-one, the fear of the excise police subsides. Or, so I thought.

Residents of the Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington, Indiana weren’t expecting an encounter with excise police last summer. The seniors participated in a weekly social hour where they purchased wine and beer. The problem, according to the state excise police, was that the alcohol sales were conducted without a state liquor license. That’s right. The excise police shut down happy hour at the retirement home.

According to the Indiana Business Journal, the story doesn’t end there. The excise police informed the retirement community that it needed a license before it could serve alcohol to its residents. Further, the excise advised that even with a license that all servers would also need the appropriate permits. Well, let’s just say the residents of Meadowood Retirement Community weren’t about to go booze free at their social events. When you combine strong wills with lots of free time, great things are going to happen.

Fast forward to July 1 of this year. A new law took effect in Indiana that allows nursing homes and retirement centers to serve alcohol without a liquor license. The new law permits a “senior residence facility” to “possess and give or furnish an alcoholic beverage” to a resident, guest or visitor who is not a minor.

Switching gears a bit. Excise officers remain active on college campuses enforcing alcohol laws. In addition to policing bars and liquor stores, state excise officers frequently look for violations of the alcohol laws at sporting events and concerts. Many times, the officers aren’t just targeting teenagers. They also keep a close eye on the people who sell alcohol to people under the age of twenty-one.

Excise officers recently cited two I.U. basketball players for possessing alcohol. Apparently, the two basketball players were with some other teammates in a car parked outside of a liquor store. Both young men cited are under the legal drinking age of twenty-one. I.U. dismissed one of the ticketed student athletes from the team.

In case you’re wondering, most excise officers don’t drive marked police vehicles and wear distinct police uniforms. They know how to blend in and where to hide. They can spot underage drinkers and fake IDs in their sleep. In fact, they might actually pose as the employee behind the counter or the ID checker at the front door. So, be careful.

If you don’t want to deal with excise police, you could try hanging out at the retirement home social hour.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.