Alcohol Awareness & Education
Drinking and driving are a deadly combination.
The Traffic Safety Services Unit, along with officers across the agency, are dedicated to educating residents about potential dangers and consequences of illegal and unsafe uses of alcohol. There are several programs that highlight specific audiences, or components, of alcohol purchase or use. Some of these programs include:
- Sobriety Checkpoints
- Shoulder Tap Operations
- Business Compliance Checks or “stings”
- Parents Who Host, Lose the Most
The Fairfax County Police Department aggressively patrols the roadways for drunk and impaired drivers. Sobriety checkpoints are one of the tools that police use to make sure drivers are not consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel. Along with publicity and awareness, checkpoints have proven to be effective in the fight against drunk driving. Each week, hundreds of motorists pass through checkpoints and many are screened for alcohol use.
Police also participate in a region-wide public awareness program, Checkpoint Strikeforce. Learn more at www.checkpointstrikeforce.net.
To learn more about Fairfax County Police Department sobriety checkpoints, contact the agency DWI Coordinator at 703-280-0570.
Under-age police cadets, employed by the police department, make contact with people outside of business establishments and ask them to purchase alcohol for them. If asked their age, cadets are truthful. If person chooses to purchase alcohol for the cadet, police will make charges. For more information on the use of shoulder tap operations as a means to deter underage alcohol use, contact the Traffic Safety Specialist at 703-280-0500.
Under-age police cadets, employed by the police department, attempt to purchase alcohol at various stores throughout the county. If a clerk sells alcoholic products to a cadet, they are cited by police. Conviction can lead to fines for the clerk and potential loss of the ABC liquor license by the establishment. For more information about the uses of business compliance checks or “stings” as a means to deter underage alcohol use, contact the Traffic Safety Specialist at 703-280-0500.
Parents Who Host, Lose the Most (PWH) Don't be a party to teenage drinking is a public education campaign of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County. It was initiated with the support of its partners in the community including the FCPD in 2007 and is now celebrating its 10th year. The campaign is recognized each year by a resolution issued by the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board and a proclamation issued by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. May is "Parents Who Host, Lose the Most" month in Fairfax County. The campaign seeks to educate parents about Virginia underage drinking laws and facts associated with teen drinking. Banners appear in FCPS high school stadiums and fact cards have been distributed across the county.
Police remind parents that there are serious consequences for hosting a party where teen alcohol consumption is present, including:
- It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone under 21 to buy, consume or possess any alcoholic beverage. Upon conviction, penalties may include:
- Fine of 500.00 (up to 2,500.00) or a minimum of 50 hours community service
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Possible expulsion from school if caught on school property, and/or possible loss of participation in all after-school activities even if caught off school property
- Additional penalties for use of a fake ID by a young adult, attempting to purchase alcohol, is loss of driver’s license for up to one year
Penalties to adults hosting parties where alcohol is served include:
- $2,500.00 fine per young person provided any alcoholic beverage
- Loss of the adult’s driver’s license for six months, and/or up to 12 months in jail
- Call other parents to ensure social events are alcohol-free and are chaperoned by responsible adults.
- Refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under age 21.
- Lock up your alcoholic beverages.
- Make sure alcohol is not brought onto your property by your teen’s friends.
- Report underage drinking parties to: 703-658-3636.