Banning Happy Hour to Lessen DWI

Can North Carolina be called a party pooper for banning happy hour? If it will help keep more drunks off the road, then it’s a small price to pay.

First, let’s clarify what we mean by “happy hour.” Happy hour refers to a time in a bar or restaurant’s operating hours when patrons can buy consumable items at a discounted price. Under Rule 2S.0232 (b) enacted by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC), happy hour is permissible for food only. Although bars and restaurants can offer drink specials, the specials must be available throughout the day, not at specialized times within a day.  Under ABC Rule 2S.0232 (b), any establishment can offer specials as long as it lasts the entire business day.

Additionally, just because an establishment serves drinks, this does not mean a person is entitled to all the drinks they can consume. Under ABC Rule 2S.0232 (3), a person can only be served a single drink. Those individuals who buy drinks in a group can purchase a pitcher’s full.

North Carolina is one of 27 states that ban happy hour or any form of beverage offers. Other forms of overconsumption mitigation include prohibiting free beverages, prohibiting a second round until a customer finishes his or her first drink, and prohibiting reduced-price promos.

Kurtz & Blum provides ethical legal counsel for residents of our great city.  We provide a free initial consultation.  To speak to a competent, qualified Raleigh lawyer who cares about your case, please call 919-832-7700.


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