Underage drinking is illegal

Protection of minors and alcohol : Clear rules, difficult implementation

The legal situation

No wine or beer to children under 16 years of age, no schnapps or other spirits to young people under 18 years of age: The sale of Alcohol to minors is clearly regulated in the Youth Protection Act. Not only is the sale of alcoholic beverages prohibited - minors may not be allowed to consume them either. In addition, the Youth Protection Act must be displayed in a clearly visible manner. Nevertheless, many bar owners and late-night buyers ignore the ban - because the penalties are mild.

Anyone who sells alcohol to minors commits one Administrative offensethat is fined. The amount of the fine is determined individually depending on the violation. If fines of more than 200 euros are imposed on a trader, the violation is reported to the central trade register - then things can get uncomfortable: In the case of repeated or particularly serious violations, the liquor license can be withdrawn or the practice of the trade can be prohibited. "Violations of the youth protection law are not peculiar offenses," says Marc Schulte (SPD), the city councilor of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.

The controls

The police and public order offices are responsible for enforcing the ban on alcohol sales. Each public order office decides for itself how compliance is checked: Most of the checks are carried out by employees of the general security service. There are also "clerks with special control tasks" who in civil on the way. In most counties there are between one and three such youth protection inspectors. Whether the sales outlets are scoured according to a fixed pattern or selected on a random basis differs from district to district.

The Track record the public order offices are mixed: According to a response from the Senate Interior Administration to a small inquiry from MP Tom Schreiber (SPD) in 2013, 142 cases of unauthorized alcohol delivery to minors were found in 3 328 inspections of sales outlets and restaurants across Berlin between 2010 and 2012.

The test buyers

Some regulatory agencies use underage test buyers to catch traders in the act. The method is politically controversial. "It is legally difficult because the traders are provoked to violate the Youth Protection Act," says Carsten Spallek (CDU), City Councilor for Order. However, the method promises more success than observing sales outlets in order to become aware of violations by chance. “We will push that in the future and increased trial purchases make ”, says Oliver Schworck (SPD), City Councilor for Order of Tempelhof-Schöneberg.

However, the regulatory agencies don't have enough suitable candidates: “There aren't that many Minors in public administration, ”says Schworck. That is why the regulatory authorities are increasingly borrowing trainees from the police in order to carry out the test purchases. In the end, says Schworck's colleague Spallek from Mitte, the enforcement of the youth protection law is directly dependent on the equipment of the public order offices. "Who one higher control density wants to have more staff available. It's a question of setting priorities. "

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