What can I do if I’m underage and tried to buy cigarettes at a liquor store but the clerk has kept my real driver’s license for a week now?

She’s saying the only way I can get it back is by having a sherif go with me to pick it up. Can she do this? After it is my property. How can I get it back? Can I take legal actions against her?

Asked on March 23, 2015 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

So your thought is to take legal action against a clerk for the fact that *you* tried to break the law? While yes, the clerk should not have retained your license, as a practical matter, you would be unable to show either any criminal intent on her part (necessary to establish criminal liability against her) or monetary/economic harm to you coming her actions (because [1] it would be very difficult, based on not have a license for one week, to show sufficient harm to justify a lawsuit and its costs; and [2] any harm comes at least in part due to your own wrongful actions in trying to illegally buy cigaretts).

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