VLA members cannot provide alcohol for customers.
The Virginia Limousine Association is a member of the National Limousine Association (NLA)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING VEHICLES FOR HIRE
The following are a list of questions asked of ABC agents about limousine issues:
1. Are limousine services allowed to provide alcohol?
NO. If there are beverages levied for the services of the limousine and alcoholic beverages are included, the inclusion of the alcoholic beverages constitutes a sale of those alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, the law makes no provision for the licensure of limousines to sell alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth.
2. Can limousines include complimentary champagne (for example, wedding service)?
NO. Once again, if the “complimentary” champagne is included with the wedding service and a fee is charged for that service, it is still considered a sale and is subject to licensure. And, again, there is no provision under the laws of the Commonwealth for the licensure of limousine services and any such sale would be unlawful (4.1-302, Code of Virginia).
3. Under what circumstances can there be alcoholic beverages in a limousine (assuming that all of the occupants are of legal age)?
According to the Code of Virginia, the only time alcoholic beverages are permitted in a vehicle for hire is when they are in possession of the paying passenger that is being transported (4.1-312).
NOTE: This section of the code only refers to the possession of alcoholic beverages and not the consumption of those beverages. The Code of Virginia does not prohibit an “open container” in the vehicle, but many localities in the Commonwealth have ordinances that do apply. Check with your local police.
4. What penalties are enforceable for having underage occupants with alcoholic beverages in the limousine?
Obviously, the underage persons are subject to arrest for possessing alcoholic beverages but, in addition, the limousine operator may be subject to arrest for allowing the possession by underage persons. In most cases, the matter is handled with the issuance of a summons to appear in court. In both these instances, if the person arrested is convicted, he/she could face up to one year in jail and/or a $2500.00 fine (4.1-305 & 4.1-323).
5. Are chauffeurs allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages for passengers?
Example #1 – A group runs low during a charter, and the chauffeur is asked to go into the store to buy more beverages. By being attentive to the client and acting as the “gofer”, the chauffeur will probably make an extra tip. The client pays for the beverages.
In this example, the chauffeur would not be violating the law. If the client is paying for the alcohol and it will be in their possession, there has been no violation. The chauffeur is merely providing a service to the client.
Example #2 – An anniversary couple takes a limousine to dinner. During the ride to the restaurant, they consume a bottle of champagne. At the restaurant, they ask the chauffeur to get another “bottle of bubbly” and have it on ice when they return. The client pays for the beverage.
In this example, if the chauffeur purchases the champagne without the clients present in the limousine, he/she would be in violation of the law regardless of who paid for the champagne.
Example #3 – Same as #1 and #2, except that the chauffeur and/or company pays for the beverages.
I the company or an agent of the company provides alcoholic beverages for compensation of services rendered, that would constitute a sale of alcoholic beverages and, thus, a violation of the law.
6. What procedures are there for reporting violations? Is the confidence of the “whistle blower” respected?
The Department of ABC maintains a hotline for reporting alcohol violations. The number is 1-800-552-3200. All information is kept strictly confidential and will be investigated by Special Agents of the Board. Giving your Name and phone number is not required, but it aids in the investigation. Please provide as complete and detailed information as possible.
7. Are we required to card to ensure age identity? What is our responsibility to check age?
If there is any doubt as to the age of the person possessing alcoholic beverages and/or your company policy requires chauffeurs to check age, do so. If the chauffeur has not checked the ages of the passengers and one or more turns out to be underage, then the chauffeur risks being charged with aid and abet of underage possession of alcoholic beverages.
8. Is there a difference between beer, wine, or liquor with regard to our interpretations of any of these questions?
NO. The questions asked and the answers provided apply to beer, wine, and liquor equally.