Over 540 California law enforcement agencies in 41 counties will be cracking down on drunk driving starting this Friday, August 21 through September 7, 2009. These agencies are part of the AVOID Program, which focuses on increased drunk driving patrols during holiday periods when drinking and driving is at its highest. According to the California Highway Patrol, 1,489 people were killed in alcohol-related collisions in 2007 (the latest statistics available).
The AVOID Program is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency. Funding pays for officer overtime hours, reassignment, and public awareness campaigns during the increased enforcement periods.
The program’s message is: The only way to AVOID the county’s law enforcement officers is to drive sober.
The 41 counties now taking part in the AVOID Program are:
|Alameda County||Butte County||Colusa County|
|Contra Costa County||Fresno County||Glenn County|
|Imperial County||Kern County||Kings County|
|Lake County||Los Angeles County||Madera County|
|Marin County||Merced County||Monterey County|
|Napa County||Nevada County||Orange County|
|Placer County||Riverside County||Sacramento County|
|San Bernardino County||San Diego County||San Francisco County|
|San Joaquin County||San Luis Obispo County||San Mateo County|
|Santa Barbara County||Santa Clara County||Santa Cruz County|
|Shasta County||Siskiyou County||Solano County|
|Sonoma County||Stanislaus County||Sutter County|
|Tehama County||Tulare County||Ventura County|
|Yolo County||Yuba County|
If you have a liquor license, monitor your guests’ drinking. Don’t let them drink too much or too fast. If they do become intoxicated, be sure to arrange a safe ride for the person. That way you protect them AND your business.
Each year the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control gives grants to local police and sheriff’s departments to address alcohol-related crime. And they don’t limit their investigations to licensed businesses.
Police in Vacaville teamed up with local ABC investigators Friday and hit two home parties, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Some people don’t know the law holds parents or legal guardians liable. Officers can also seize any alcoholic beverage in plain view, in certain circumstances. Read on…
25658.2. Minors consuming at home: penalties for parents or guardians.
(a) A parent or legal guardian who knowingly permits his or her child, or a person in the company of the child, or both, who are under the age of 18 years, to consume an alcoholic beverage or use a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian is guilty of misdemeanor if all of the following occur:
(1) As the result of the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or use of a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian, the child or other underage person has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater, as measured by a chemical test, or is under the influence of a controlled substance.
(2) The parent knowingly permits that child or other underage person, after leaving the parent’s or legal guardian’s home, to drive a vehicle.
(3) That child or underage person is found to have caused a traffic collision while driving the vehicle. (b) A person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not to exceed one year, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both imprisonment and fine.
25662. Possession by minors
. . .(b) Unless otherwise provided by law, where a peace officer has
lawfully entered the premises, the peace officer may seize any
alcoholic beverage in plain view that is in the possession of, or
provided to, a person under the age of 21 years at social gatherings,
when those gatherings are open to the public, 10 or more persons
under the age of 21 years are participating, persons under the age of
21 years are consuming alcoholic beverages, and there is no
supervision of the social gathering by a parent or guardian of one or
more of the participants. . . .”
Source: California Business & Professions Code.
A 40-year old man died after being stabbed at the El Diamante nightclub, 12002 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, shortly after midnight today. KTLA news reported people in the nightclub two men began arguing. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) believes the stabbing is gang-related.
After reading an article like this, I’m usually compelled to do some digging. So, I went to the CA Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) website. I wanted to see if El Diamante’s had any past problems with their liquor license.
I clicked on License Query System entered the name, El Diamante. (You can do this, too. It’s public information.)
And I discovered the current owners of El Diamante have had a beer and wine license since 2006 with no previous liquor license problems.
The club did have two violations under previous owners: one in 1998, and another in 2000. Both were violations of the “drink solicitation” law.
In my experience, patrons drinking too much, combined with drink solicitation, is a recipe for major violence and liquor license problems.
What is drink solicitation, you ask?
Most commonly, it’s an illegal practice whereby a female asks a male patron to buy her a drink, and the female is employed or permitted to loiter for that purpose. The politically incorrect term for the female is “B-girl” (short for bar-girl). It’s a crime and can result in liquor license suspension or revocation.
When I was Enforcement Supervisor at the ABC’s Inglewood District Office, B-girls were drinking little 7-oz. beers called chicas. That may still be the case. (Often, the establishment tracks the number of drinks solicited, and takes a percentage of the profits–an even bigger whammy from the ABC.)
By the way… even the most upscale restaurants may unknowingly be violating the same law. Although the owner might not have B-girls, does he pay his employees a percentage or commission on the sale of alcohol–to encourage the purchase or sale of alcohol?
Here’s how the law reads:
“25657. It is unlawful:
(a) For any person to employ, upon any licensed on-sale premises, any person for the purpose of procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages, or to pay any such person a percentage or commission on the sale of alcoholic beverages for procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages on such premises.
(b) In any place of business where alcoholic beverages are sold to be consumed upon the premises, to employ or knowingly permit anyone to loiter in or about said premises for the purpose of begging or soliciting any patron or customer of, or visitor in, such premises to purchase any alcoholic beverages for the one begging or soliciting. Every person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
I don’t know what caused the fight at El Diamante. But I do know what happens next. LAPD will complete their investigation and submit their written report to the local ABC office. The ABC will review the evidence and decide whether grounds exist to suspend or revoke El Diamante’s liquor license. We’ll see.
Stay safe and legal.
Disclaimer: This is not intended as legal advice. Please check with a competent attorney before doing anything that could jeopardize your liquor license.
It’s fair season.
Have you enjoyed a local fair lately? It’s great fun for the entire family.
You can enjoy music, food, rides, learn about agriculture and more.
Fairs bring in millions and billions!
Millions of guests flock to California fairs each year. Fairs help the State’s economy, too. According to the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, “The overall impact of spending by all participants at fair time and interim events resulted in a total economic impact on California of $2.55 billion in 2002.”
Most fairs generate sizable profits from alcohol sales.
Uncontrolled alcohol sales are risky
However, when fairs don’t control their alcohol sales, it creates serious problems. Fights, vandalism, underage drinking and drunk driving, to name a few.
That’s no fun for families or anyone else.
Some fairs have a permanent liquor license to sell alcohol year round. Others use nonprofit groups like the Elks Lodge, Kiwanis Club or Friends of the Fair to sell alcohol. These groups obtain a special daily license from the ABC to sell alcohol during fair time.
Why alcohol policies and training are vital
Whether it’s a permanent liquor licensee or a nonprofit group, it’s critical to implement written alcohol management policies (e.g., limiting servings, cup size, etc.) and require responsible beverage service training!
It makes things safer and more profitable for everyone: the licensee, servers and guests.
You know, volunteer alcohol servers are often surprised to hear…
… their legal liability for selling alcohol is the same as a full-time professional bartender or server! (I’ve had some walk out of my training class when they heard that.)
Here’s what can result from an illegal sale:
Sale of alcohol to a person under age 21: a $1,000 fine and or 24-36 hours of community service. (Some judges are including court costs and enhancements, which skyrockets the fine to $3,000 or more.) In aggravated cases, there could be jail time.
Serving an obviously intoxicated person (someone who looks or acts drunk): a $1,000 fine and/or six months county jail.
Not only that, the underage guest (who possesses, buys or drinks alcohol) can receive the same criminal penalty as the seller (plus driver’s license sanctions).
As for intoxicated guests, any guest who is drunk in public (unable to care for their own safety or the safety of others) can be arrested and charged with a crime.
The ABC and local law enforcement work at fairs
To ensure compliance with state and local laws, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and local police work at the fairs in uniform and undercover. Just like they do at liquor stores, nightclubs and other licensed establishments.
For example, the ABC and Paso Robles Police recently arrested 13 on charges of alcohol and minors in an undercover operation at the Mid-State Fair in San Luis Obispo. That included three vendors, two adults and seven minors in possession of alcohol, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
If you’re looking for some family fun this summer, then check out a nearby California fair.
And if you’re selling alcohol at the fair, then stay safe and legal by following laws and policy–and attending training approved by the ABC.