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Sep 19, 2011 10:00 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Alcohol sales fines could be increased

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The city of Lake Charles is considering stiffer penalties for businesses that sell alcohol to minors.
The American Press reports the city council has heard complaints from police and city's Alcohol Review Board.
The city has fines of $100 and $300 respectively for the first and second times a business is cited for selling alcohol to people under 21. A third citation may result in an Alcohol Review Board recommendation that a business's permit be revoked.
City Council President John Ieyoub said the city will do whatever it can to protect young people.
"Basically, we want to stop underage drinking, and we don't want to make it easy for businesses that sell to youth. The goal is to have businesses aware and to think about the potential for major violations," he said.
Councilwoman Luvertha August has recommended the fines be raised to $500 and $1,000 for the first and second offenses, and the third offense would lead to the loss of a city liquor permit.
"Lake Charles welcomes law-abiding business owners. But if they break the law and contribute to the delinquency of a minor, they will pay dearly with their ill-gotten gain," she said.
Alcohol Review Board member Reggie Landry said it is "unacceptable" to have underage residents purchasing alcohol.
He also is offended that repeat offenders continue their behavior.
"That is one of the major issues for me. When you fine someone $100, it is not worth anything if they can make $5,000. I thinking raising the fines will start making those businesses watch what they are doing," he said.

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