Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

05-15-08 Underage Drinking Education/Enforcement to Step Up for Summer

05-15-08 Underage Drinking Education/Enforcement to Step Up for Summer

    Boise, May 15, 2008 - With summer nearly here and students almost out of school, Boise Police continue to send a strong message against underage alcohol use.

    Boise Police are partnering with the Idaho State Liquor Dispensary, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and other local law enforcement agencies for a month-long education and enforcement campaign called "Operation Save a Teen".  The campaign is meant to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol use among teens.

  • Alcohol sales to youth led to an estimated 3,170 deaths and almost 2.6 million injuries and other costly events in 2001.
  • 20% of traffic crashes with a driver under age 21 involve youth drinking.
  • Alcohol is a factor is up to 50% of all fatal drownings, and up to 60% of all fatal burns (all ages). Studies show alcohol involvement in youth drownings is especially high.
  • Convicted youth in custody reported being under the influence of alcohol only or both alcohol and other drugs in 41% of homicides committed, 43% of sexual assaults, 37% of other assaults, and 24% of robberies and property crimes. 
  • Studies show alcohol use is a significant factor in youth suicide, risky sexual behavior, fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol poisoning and psychosis.

*Studies cited in Miller, et al, 2006

    "We know alcohol use among teens is dangerous," said Officer Jermaine Galloway of the Boise Police Department. "We know underage drinking leads to accidents, crimes, injuries, and we need to continue to educate our youth and the community, and send a strong message that we want our kids to be safe."

    Partners involved in the month-long campaign will:

- Promote Crime Stoppers, 343-COPS as a number to call if citizens suspect underage drinking, or know of a person or place supplying or selling alcohol to minors. 

- Conduct what are called "compliance checks" to see that laws regarding the sale of alcohol to minors are being followed.

- Conduct special patrols aimed at house parties or other locations where underage drinking has been reported.

    "We know that underage alcohol use can be greatly reduced, particularly if access is difficult," said Lisa Reed, a volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Diving in Boise. "If teens get the message, both at home and from their community, that there is zero tolerance for teenage alcohol use, we can literally save lives and save the futures of our young people." 

    "Research, and my own experience tells me that if the community is educated, and if laws and consequences are publicized and enforced, it will reduce the incidents of underage drinking." said Officer Galloway.

    "Idaho State Liquor stores in the Boise area are happy to post flyers advertising the Crime Stoppers report number and promoting responsible alcohol use, " said Dyke Nally, Superintendent of the Idaho State Liquor Dispensary. "If people know who to call when they see or suspect underage alcohol use, I think people will help and we can make a difference."

    As citizen tips on establishments selling alcohol to minors continue to come in, Boise Police, with assistance from the Alcohol Beverage Control unit of the Idaho State Police will continue to investigate businesses and individuals who sell or provide alcohol to minors.

To learn more on prevention and costs of underage drinking, go to: (Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth)

Penalties of providing alcohol to underage youth:
• A person who sells or furnishes alcohol to an underage youth will face fines between $500 and $1,000 plus up to one year in jail.
• A person who sells or furnishes alcohol a second time will face a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to one year in jail.

Penalties/Laws on underage alcohol use or possession:
• It is illegal for those under 21 to drink, buy, possess, transport or have open alcohol. Penalties for a minor in possession of alcohol: 1st offense = fine up to $1,000 and up to one year drivers license suspension.
• It is illegal to have a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Penalty is a general misdemeanor: up to $1,000 fine, 6 months in jail.
• Those who refuse alcohol tests when driving a motor vehicle and stopped by a law enforcement officer could lose their license and get points on their driving record.
• In Idaho, people under age 21 who are found with a blood alcohol level of .02 - .07 face charges of Underage Driving Under the Influence with a 1st offense maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and a one year drivers license suspension.

State Administrative Penalties for licensed establishments that sell alcohol to minors:
• 1st offense within three years - 10 day license suspension or $1,000.00 fine
• 2nd offense within three year - 30 day license suspension or 15 day suspension and $1,500.00 fine
• 3rd offense within three years - 180 day license suspension