ARIZONA – State liquor officials kicked off the high school prom and graduation season with a warning to limousine drivers and parents — booze in the back seat is against the law. "In any way, shape or form, any adult over 21 giving alcohol to a minor is illegal," said Leesa Berens Morrison, director of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. "Lots of parents think it’s OK if their kids go into a limousine and drink. They think it’s safer because they’re not drinking and driving, which is true, but it’s still illegal for them to drink."
Morrison sent letters to all limousine, charter and trolley companies advising them they can be held liable if they allow minors to bring alcohol on board. The warning comes after the department received complaints last year that some transportation companies allowed drinking or provided the alcohol.
It is a misdemeanor to allow or provide alcohol to minors, and violators can face up to six months in jail and fines up to $2,500, not to mention losing their commercial driver’s license.
Ross Morreale, manager of MGM Limousines and SUVs, said his company takes underage drinking very seriously, especially this time of year.
"All our drivers are pretty much trained to pay attention with that kind of stuff," Morreale said. "We might even cancel the run."
Kevin Amjadi, manager of Mirage Limousines, said parents often approach the drivers to say that their kids have permission to drink. "We don’t tolerate it at all. If we find it, the service is over," Amjadi said. "They sneak it in, but it’s (the driver’s) license on the line. He can get a ticket."