Tuesday, May 01, 2007

S.C.Supreme Court holds that administrative sanaction is not equivalent to prosecution

In Elephant, Inc. v. South Carolina Dept. of Revenue, a bartender at Platinum Plus sold beer to a minor who was working with the Department in a sting operation. Elephant, Inc., the owner of the bar, was issued a $1000.00 fine by the Department of Revenue. On appeal, the fine to $100.00, finding the fine excessive in light of Elephant’s corporate policy attempting to prevent the sale or possession of alcohol by minors. Elephant appealed to the supreme court contending it is not subject to “prosecution” because the minor CI was never prosecuted for under-age possession.

The court recognized that though it is correct that a person may not be prosecuted for the sale of alcohol to a minor under § 61-4-50 unless the minor is also prosecuted, this does not carry over to administrative sanctions for violation of a Department of Revenue Regulation. Administrative sanctions are not equivalent to a criminal prosecution.

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