Why Am I Always Getting Carded in Alabama?

Feb 5, 2020 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen's Answers


A friend, now in his 60s, asked me why he must show his driver’s license to buy an alcoholic beverage in Alabama.

Let me do some lawyersplaining.

First, the server might think he looks under 21. Unlikely, but it could happen. In Alabama, you cannot sell (or serve) anyone who is under 21 years old.

Second, and more likely for my friend and grandpa, the owners of the bars and restaurants have told the servers to take no chances of breaking the law. Therefore, card everyone … even if they look like a Civil War veteran.

The Alabama legislature has placed the burden of not selling to underaged people on the seller. Even one violation could cost the business tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in sales and legal fees.

My friend sees the carding as a funny inconvenience. Often pulling out his Medicare card. But the problem of serving underaged people is quite real.

Here is another piece of Alabama law that I hope you will never have to use.

Under Alabama law if a child is drinking and gets hurt, a parent can sue the person who sold the liquor.

From my own case file, a person under 21 was drinking and then hurt in a traffic accident. We went after the person who sold the alcohol to pay for the medical bills, pain and suffering and car damage caused in the accident.

Now a little lawyerly (and fatherly) advice – alcohol is a drug. Be very, very careful with its use. That is true if you are a teenager or a senior citizen.

If you are hurt in a traffic accident or suffer a personal injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer