LEWISTON - Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), with the assistance of the Moscow and Lewiston Police Departments, conducted alcohol age compliance checks on Friday and Saturday nights on seventy-four businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, Clearwater and Idaho counties.
Working with plainclothes and uniformed officers, underage youths entered these businesses and attempted to illegally purchase alcoholic beverages. Sixty-seven businesses refused to sell to our underage buyers. The efforts of these responsible businesses and their employees are commended.
Regrettably, 7 or 9.46% of the businesses checked failed to comply with the law and sold to a minor under the age of 21. Some of these failures occurred after sales people asked for and received the underage person's identification, which clearly showed the date of birth and the date the underage person is to turn 21 years of age and still sold or served alcohol to the underage person. In other cases identification wasn't asked for. Misdemeanor citations were issued in these cases and they have been referred to the appropriate prosecuting attorney's office.
"ABC conducts underage compliance checks not only to ensure that minors do not have access to alcohol, but also to bring awareness to the dangers associated with underage drinking," said Idaho State Police Sgt. Rocky Gripton. "As the weather warms up teens are attending proms and end of the school celebrations and we want these celebrations to be remembered as happy times and not marred by the tragedy that too often comes from underage drinking."
Additionally, the compliance operation included underage youth requesting an adult to purchase alcohol for them in Moscow and Lewiston. Only 6 of the 75 adults that were asked to purchase alcohol for an underage buyer made the purchase. These adults were issued misdemeanor citations for providing alcohol to a minor.
Detectives report that during the operation one adult took money from the underage female, purchased beer and then returned all of the money that was given to him to purchase the beer. Additionally, two adults specifically asked if the female was underage even when she replied that she was, the adults made the alcohol purchase anyway.
Illegal alcohol use by underage persons contributes to crime, car crashes, injuries, and deaths. Law enforcement finds that alcohol also has a role in many of the more frequent minor crimes and nuisances that degrade the quality of life in our communities.
Penalties for a person who sells or furnishes alcohol to underage youth pursuant to Idaho Code Section 23-603 include fines between $500 and $1,000 plus up to one year in jail. The maximum penalties for licensed establishments that sell alcohol to minors are as follows:
1st offense within three years - 10 day license suspension or $1,000.00 fine; 2nd offense within three years - 30 day license suspension or 15 day suspension and $1,500.00 fine; 3rd offense within three years - 180 day license suspension.
Additionally during the two day operation one person was cited for driving without privileges and two other people were cited failure to maintain insurance.
Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control provides free training to employees on Idaho's alcohol laws including how to recognize fake IDs. For more information on dates and locations for upcoming training sessions, to request one in your area, or for laws pertaining to the sale of alcohol, please visit our website at www.isp.idaho.gov/abc.