Agents to go undercover to make public drunkenness arrests at bars, restaurants

Silver Eagle Saloon
Curtis Gregory Perry via / CC BY-NC-SA

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety and the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement (DATE) are partnering over the holidays and into the New Year in making arrests related to public drunkenness.

Agents plan to conduct undercover operations during the holiday season and into the Super Bowl period to prevent bars and restaurants from serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons.

While the situation has improved over the years, too many visibly intoxicated people are known to get into their vehicles and drive to another destination.

During this operation, if agents view an intoxicated patron being served alcohol, the server, and the establishment may be charged.

The establishment may face administrative penalties as well. Thecrackdown will run mid-December through mid- February. A special emphasis will be placed on “Happy Hour” enforcement.

Bars and restaurants have options in such cases. One reason Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services were authorized in the state was evidence that the services help

As of mid-December, 39 people have lost their lives due to impaired driving on Delaware roadways, the Office of Highway Safety reported.

“These undercover operations are an important tool to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel,” says John Yeomans, director of Tobacco and Alcohol Enforcement. “We are pleased to be able to partner with OHS to further encourage our retail establishments not to over-serve patrons as well as to help prevent intoxicated patrons from driving.”

Uniformed DATE officers have been providing prevention and awareness training for retail establishments about the laws referencing serving intoxicated persons.

“Every impaired driver we take off the roads helps keep our roads safer,” says Jana Simpler, director of the highway safety office. “When someone is arrested for public intoxication or a DUI, not only do they spend thousands in fines, fees, and court costs, and potentially face jail time, they also have a criminal record. Most importantly, driving impaired puts them, as well as others, at risk and in harm’s way. Cracking down on the establishments and servers who play a role in this, hopefully will send a message that drinking and driving are unacceptable and dangerous.”

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