Public Safety

Drive Sober and Don’t Slip Alcohol to Minors

Image Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Start this resolution early: celebrate the winter holidays responsibly and stay safe. If you don’t, you may wind up in jail or worse.

“Some people will forget to be responsible and drink and drive this holiday season,” says Sheriff Bill Gore. “Never get behind the wheel after drinking. Remember, drive sober or get pulled over.”

Health officials are also reminding adults that it is against the law to host underage drinking parties and allow minors to drink in San Diego County. The social host ordinance states adults who knowingly, or should have known, that underage drinking was happening on their property face citation or arrest, a minimum $1,000 fine,  potential jail time of up to six months, a potential sentence of 32 hours community service, and billing for law enforcement services.

Alfredo Aguirre, director for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, says most minors get alcohol from a parent, sibling, a store clerk who fails to check IDs, or an adult who is willing to take a bribe to provide it.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies across the nation are in the middle of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to stop impaired driving this holiday season. The campaign started midmonth and continues through New Year’s Day.

Sheriff’s deputies will be out looking for drunk or drugged drivers to keep the roads safe. In addition to extra DUI patrols, deputies will also serve search warrants on DUI offenders who have failed to appear in court.

“We have our DUI saturation patrols in every contract city out every weekend for the month of December,” says Sheriff’s Lt. Herbert Taft. “And we’ll have extra units out there on New Year’s Eve. It’s more effective to have units roaming around.”

The Sheriff’s Department offers these tips for a safe holiday season:

  • Plan a safe way home if you plan to drink
  • Designate a sober driver before you start to drink
  • If you plan to drink, leave your car keys at home
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1 immediately

Here are some sober rider options for the holidays:

The Sheriff’s Department wants to remind you, if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will go to jail.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Funding for this DUI enforcement program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To report underage drinking parties, contact your local police department, the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers Anonymous Tip Line at (888) 580-8477.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact