Statewide underage drinking enforcement operation results in 175 citations

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control teamed up with more than 50 law enforcement agencies throughout the state in an operation that netted 175 citations March 9.

Shoulder Tap operations focus on adults who purchase alcohol for people under the age of 21. The statewide effort’s goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and the potential legal repercussions on those who supply minors with alcohol.

“Each year, hundreds of officers from partner agencies across California join with our agents to draw awareness to the fact that it’s illegal to purchase alcohol for minors,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough. “These operations will continue throughout the year to enhance public safety.”

During a Shoulder Tap operation, minors supervised by law enforcement stand outside stores that sell alcohol and ask customers to make a purchase for them. The minor says they are underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. Adults who agree may be arrested and cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

The purpose of the operation is to keep alcohol out of the hands of underage individuals. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Of those crashes, 27 percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 had a blood alcohol content of .01 or higher.

The operation resulted in citations for 159 individuals who allegedly furnished alcoholic beverages to minors. At least 16 other individuals were cited for driving under the influence, parole violations or other infractions. The operation demonstrates the serious consequences for adults that buy alcohol for minors. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The local operations were funded by ABC’s Alcohol Policing Partnership program and the California Office of Traffic Safety through NHTSA. 

About the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the agency of the government of the state of California charged with the regulation of alcoholic beverages. ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety to the people of California through licensing, education, and enforcement. ABC is a department of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.