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LA digital license now accepted in alcohol and tobacco purchases

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 19:55:15-05

Louisiana’s digital driver’s license, LA Wallet, can now be used for alcohol and tobacco purchases.

The new Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco (ATC) rule authorizes retailers and establishments to accept LA Wallet when verifying age and identity. LA Wallet is the only form of electronic identification recognized and accepted in the state.

“Louisiana and LA Wallet are continuing to lead the nation in the digital identification space. With the ATC’s new guidelines, we are making state government more efficient and effective for our citizens while standing by our commitment to reduce underage drinking and falsified credentials cases,” Gov. Edwards said.

Under the ATC’s rule, establishments must properly train all employees prior to accepting the digital driver’s license and retailers retain the right to request a physical form of identification at the time of purchase. Merchants that are mandated by the ATC to license scanners are still required to request physical identification.

“We have worked to make it possible for bars, restaurants and other alcohol and to retailers to accept this form of ID by adding digital ID training to our responsible vendors. Our goal is to allow for statewide use of this new technology and still ensure that retailers can verify identification to avoid alcohol sales to minors,” said  ATC Commissioner Juana Marine-Lombard.

The Louisiana legislature authorized LA Wallet for driving in 2016. The app launched in 2018, becoming the first fully functioning digital driver’s license available in the United States.

LA Wallet was jointly designed by the Louisiana State Police, Department of Public Safety and the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV). The digital driver’s license app was developed by Envoc, a Louisiana-based software development firm.

“This ruling gives retail stores, restaurants, and other vendors a clear understanding on the adoption of LA Wallet by ATC for age-restricted purchases,” OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain said. “Adding ‘How-to’ LA Wallet handling into training materials across our state has been an accomplished priority we are proud of.”

The digital license is valid for the life of the user’s license issuance. Once a user’s physical license expires, they must renew their license with the OMV and purchase a new digital license through LA Wallet.

Guidelines for LA Wallet are below:

  • LA Wallet is the legally accepted form of electronic identification in Louisiana.

  • Each business decides whether it will accept the digital driver’s licesnse.

  • Businesses required by ATC to utilize ID scanners must still request a physical ID.

  • If a vendor is unable to read the digital ID, it will be as if the licensee did not present a driver’s license.

  • All other rules and guidelines still apply when ensuring an individual is of legal age to purchase and/or consume alcohol and tobacco products.

Read more on those guidelines here