Menlo Park Police and agents of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued citations to nine servers for furnishing alcohol to minors on April 28, 2021. The actions were the result of a Minor Decoy Program in which minors under the direct supervision of department agents attempted to purchase alcohol from eight retail licensees in the general vicinity of Menlo Park.
Servers who sold to the minor face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor. These actions may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.
ABC is conducting the compliance checks statewide to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics show that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.
Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s. When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below.
In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool for law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) through the department’s Grant Assistance Program.
ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.