Foxreno.com reported: “An underage alcohol compliance check operation taken place during the River Walk District’s St. Patrick ’s Day Wine Walk resulted in an 84% failure rate for businesses.
Members of the Regional Street Enforcement Team (SET) conducted the underage compliance check operation during this past weekend’s River Walk District’s St. Patrick ’s Day Wine Walk. The operation was funded with federal grant funds secured by our partner; Join Together Northern Nevada (JTNN).
The Wine Walk website lists 31 participating businesses. The website explains that attendees can purchase a wine glass at any of the participating locations and receive a wristband to participate. Proceeds fund a different local charity each month.
In mid-January, Join Together Northern Nevada trained 48 employees from participating Wine Walk businesses and issued Alcohol Awareness Training cards to those attending. The St. Patrick’s Day Wine Walk compliance check operation was designed to be an “environmental scan” and no citations were to be issued. The goals of the operation were to determine the event’s level of compliance and to initiate and educational campaign.
During our operation a 20-year-old female volunteer and a 19-year-old female volunteer attempted to purchase the event wine glasses at each participating location, however only two businesses of the 20 visited were selling the glasses.
The event wristband does not relieve the servers from verifying a customer is of legal age. The minors intentionally did NOT wear the issued wristbands during the operation in order to promote age verification.
The minor volunteers were served alcohol at 16 of the 19 locations. One of the locations had run out of wine and did not “pass or fail” the operation.
In addition to the alcohol compliance check, SET detectives verified employees possessed an Alcohol Awareness Training Card, required by state law.
All of the failing businesses were notified immediately about the failure. The Reno Police Department, in conjunction with Join Together Northern Nevada, will compile and share the information obtained during this operation with participating businesses prior to the next scheduled Wine Walk event.
Join Together Northern Nevada is hosting another Alcohol Awareness Training course on April 15, 2013, which is before the next Wine Walk scheduled on April 20, 2013, in an attempt to increase education and compliance during this event.
The City of Reno Code Enforcement and Business License Division will be sending out Notice to Comply forms to the failing businesses this week. The notice will inform businesses that citations will be issued on future failures with the following penalties for infractions within a 12 month period:
1st offense: $250.00 fine
2nd offense: $500.00 fine
3rd offense: 30 day suspension
These regulations can be found under Reno Municipal Code 5.07.200(d)(e)
It is the goal of the Reno Police Department, City of Reno Business License/Code Enforcement Division, and JTNN to create a fun and safe environment during Wine Walk events while being diligent in serving only those subjects who are 21 years of age or over.”
DUI Attorney Leslee Tingle of Miller Cerasuolo comments on the undercover operation:
“An underage alcohol compliance check was performed in Reno, Nevada during this past St. Patrick’s Day Wine Walk. Foxreno.com reports that this operation resulted in an 84% failure rate, with 16 of the participating businesses serving to underage agents. Alcohol Beverage Control of Virginia conducts similar undercover operations. §4.1-304 of the Virginia Code states that it is a class 1 misdemeanor to sell alcoholic beverages to any underage or intoxicated person. That type of misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. In addition to criminal penalties, business with employees who violate this law can be penalized with civil penalties as well.”
Source: Majority of businesses fail wine walk underage drinking compliance check