ST. JOSEPH -- St. Joseph has updated their liquor license penalties in an effort to help enforcement and compliance.

St. Joseph had a complex set of liquor license violation penalties including 10 different categories of violations, and three categories of "aggravating factors" that raised the penalties depending on how many there were: one factor, two or three.

As an example, liquor license violations involving multiple minors would be considered worse under the old system than violations involving one.

City staff wanted to remove the different categories of violations and do away with the "aggravating factors" differences with a new set of rules for liquor license violators, while the new set would make the penalties more expensive, they are also streamlined:

  • 1st Violation: $500
  • 2nd Violation: $1,000 (in a 24 month period)
  • 3rd Violation: $2,000 plus a seven day license suspension (in a 24 month period)

Other cities in our area are very similar to the new rules in St. Joseph with violation tiers instead of different categories and aggravating factors:

St. Cloud -- 

  • 1st Violation: $750
  • 2nd Violation: $1,500 (within a 24 month period)
  • 3rd Violation: Suspension or revocation of license

Waite Park --

  • 1st Violation: $500
  • 2nd Violation: $1,000
  • 3rd Violation: 15 day suspension plus costs incurred.

St. Joseph looked into Northfields' existing liquor violation laws to see what a similar small college town had on its' books:

  • 1st Violation: $250, verification of retraining of employees.
  • 2nd Violation: $500, 3 day suspension.
  • 3rd Violation: $2,000, 18 day suspension (within 3 years of 1st offense).

A few St. Joseph businesses have violations since 2015, including the American Legion (2015, 2017) Bo Diddley's (2016), La Playette (2016, 2017) Sal's (2016) Middy (2017) and Bello Cucina.

The businesses who have current violations will be still penalized under the old system to provide a "grace period" for them, before the newer and more expensive rules take affect.

The council approved the new rules at the meeting Monday night.