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Statewide Underage Drinking Enforcement Operation Conducted
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Police in Lodi were among those making arrests as part of a statewide operation on March 11 seeking to raise awareness of the penalties for purchasing alcohol for minors. Photo Contributed

Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and officers from 44 local police and sheriff’s departments cited more than 130 individuals during ABC’s statewide Shoulder Tap operation on Saturday, March 11, 2023. This enforcement operation is designed to create awareness about the dangers of underage drinking throughout California and keep communities safe.

A Shoulder Tap operation focuses on adults who purchase alcohol for people under the age of 21. Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of law enforcement stands outside of a liquor or convenience store and asks customers to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates they are underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If an adult agrees to purchase alcohol for the underage person, they can be arrested and cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

“We conduct these operations as an effort to keep alcohol out of the hands of our youth,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “This collaborative effort among California law enforcement agencies spotlights underage drinking prevention, increases public safety for communities, and helps reduce DUIs.”

The operation resulted in citations for 130 individuals who allegedly furnished alcoholic beverages to minors. At least nine other individuals were cited for open containers, public intoxication, DUI, or other crimes. 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.

Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a much higher risk of being involved in a crash than older drivers. About 25 percent of fatal crashes involve underage drinking according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) 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.