Alcohol sale offences (Revised 2017)

Licensing Act 2003, s.141 (sale of alcohol to drunk person); s.146 (sale of alcohol to children); s.147 (allowing sale of alcohol to children)
Effective from: 24 April 2017

Triable only summarily:
Maximum: Level 3 fine (s.141); Unlimited fine (ss.146 and 147)
Offence range: Conditional Discharge – Band C fine

This guideline may also be relevant when sentencing offences under s147A of the Licensing Act 2003, persistently selling alcohol to children, which is committed if, on three or more different occasions within a period of three consecutive months, alcohol is unlawfully sold on the same premises to a person under 18. The offence is summary only and the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine.  The court should refer to the sentencing approach in this guideline, adjusting the starting points and ranges bearing in mind the increased seriousness of this offence.

User guide for this offence

Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1      Higher culpability and greater harm

Category 2      Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm 

Category 3      Lower culpability and lesser harm

The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • No attempt made to establish age
  • Sale for consumption by group of intoxicated persons
  • Sale intended for consumption by a child or young person
  • Offender in management position (or equivalent)
  • Evidence of failure to police the sale of alcohol

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • Offender deceived by false identification
  • Evidence of substantial effort to police the sale of alcohol
  • Offender acting under direction

 HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating greater harm

  • Supply to younger child/children
  • Supply causes or contributes to antisocial behaviour
  • Large quantity of alcohol supplied

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • All other cases