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ABC likely to review bar stabbing incident

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control office in San Marcos will likely join the investigation of a stabbing which occurred Sunday night outside a Fallbrook bar located in the 1400 block of South Mission Road.

Pete Tyndall, an investigator for the ABC’s San Marcos office, indicated that the ABC will check with the Sheriff’s Office about the incident. “They typically will send us information of anything happening at our licensed premises and we look into it,” Tyndall said.

The stabbing of two men outside Ron’s Red Eye Saloon was reported first in the online edition of the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News. The online reader feedback included remarks that the victims did not have identification. Although those comments, which also referenced the lack of insurance or a Social Security number, addressed immigration issues, the admission into a public premises bar of two men who lacked identification creates a risk that the bar would violate its liquor license.

While some bars post signs requiring valid identification, Tyndall notes that such identification is a risk reduction rather than an ABC condition of a liquor license. “It’s going to be their house policy for the most part, who they check,” he said. “We don’t want them letting anybody in there who’s under the age of 21. We want them to check IDs.”

If an establishment is considered a restaurant, patrons under the age of 21 are allowed to be admitted but cannot consume alcoholic beverages. If a bar is considered a public premise, no person under the age of 21 is allowed to be inside. “They should check an ID if the person looks the least bit youthful,” Tyndall said.

A bar may choose not to check the identification of patrons who look substantially older than the legal drinking age, but the risk exists that an older-looking person may actually be under 21. “That’s when it becomes a problem,” Tyndall said. “If they’re serving somebody it’s a violation of ABC law.”

The bars can develop their own age verification policies as long as they ensure that no underage patron enters. “What we normally look for is to see if they’re under the age of 21 or if they’re overly intoxicated,” Tyndall said.

If law enforcement officials enter a bar and the patron does not have identification, a determination is made whether the patron is in fact of legal drinking age. “Administratively they don’t have anything to fall back on,” Tyndall said of bars which do not check identifications.

Although admitting patrons without identification is not in itself a violation, the ABC provides education to licensees as well as enforcement of violations. “When we issue a license we give them the information they need to know,” Tyndall said.

“We try to brief them,” Tyndall said. “We give them paperwork on how to operate.”

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