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How to Check an ID

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How to Check an ID. If you work at a bar or a restaurant that serves alcohol, it may be your duty to make sure you are not serving minors. Checking an ID goes with the territory, and it doesn't have to be a bad experience. Most young people expect it, and others will be flattered you asked. A few simple guidelines can take the uncertainty out of serving alcohol responsibly.

Accept driver's licenses, state issued identification cards, passports and military identification. All other forms of ID are invalid when attempting to purchase alcohol. If the customer argues, smile and tell them politely that you have no choice. It's the law.

Look for the expiration date. An expired ID is no longer valid, and cannot be used to establish legal drinking age.

Check the birth date on the ID. If math confuses you, work out the date beforehand. Most restaurants are required to post signs that say "You cannot purchase alcohol unless you were born on or before this date in...."

Match the face with the picture. Sometimes it's tricky to tell if the person in the picture is the same person who just pulled the card out of their wallet. Hair and even eye color can change, so look at the shape of the face. If you are unsure, look for a detail like whether the ears lobes are attached to the head or dangling.

Ask the customer his birth date and the spelling of his name if you are uncertain if the ID is valid. Of course, if the person is underage, she may have memorized the information on her false ID.

Talk to a manager. If you have checked the ID, asked questions and still are not satisfied that your customer has presented valid identification, give your manager the heads up. Most restaurants understand the importance of serving alcohol responsibly. Even the server can sometimes be held responsible under the law.

Compare an out of state ID against a picture. Restaurants committed to serving alcohol responsibly will have a book of IDs that includes pictures and tips to identify their authenticity. Don't hesitate to politely excuse yourself and check.