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.
Police, working jointly with the Fairfax County Public School System and community groups, participate in this Fairfax countywide initiative to reduce underage drinking. Part of the Drug-Free Action Alliance, police educate parents about the consequences of hosting a party where under-age alcohol consumption is present.
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.