Recently, Governor Deal signed House Bill 152, commonly known as Michael’s Law. This bill will cause major changes for bars and bar owners. Michael’s Law has been brought to life by the parents of Michael J. Gatto, an 18 year-old Georgia Southern student that was violently beaten to death at a Statesboro bar, Rude Rudy’s. A twenty-year-old bouncer is accused of the crime and is being held without bond in the Bulloch County jail.
Under the new law, all bars will be required to hold Liquor Liability Insurance. This type of insurance has never been required in the state of
Georgia and will provide for alcohol-related incidents, such as bar fights. Another big change is the age restriction for anyone allowed in bars. Prior to this law being enacted, you could work in a bar if you were under 21 years of age. This will no longer be allowed. According to Michael’s Law, this would apply to any establishment whose sales are 75% or more from alcohol. Any county that issues liquor licenses, such as Athens-Clarke County, will be required to report any violations to the Department of Revenue, including underage drinking within 45 days of the violation date. The bill also mandates that the bar self-report any violations made and if not will face fines and penalties.
Attorney Joe Lariscy has been practicing law in Athens, Georgia for over 30 years. At the Lariscy Law Firm we seek to keep people informed of changes in the law. If you ever find yourself in a legal predicament, underage drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, open container, etc. call (706)389-4375 or contact us online for legal assistance.