The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on underage drinking. Graduation season is in full swing in the Borderland, and the EPCSO wants to remind teens and their families about the consequences they’ll face if they break the law.
The EPCSO hopes their summer operation curbs teen drinking.
“Right after graduation, we have an increase in the number of parties, both house parties and desert parties that occur out in the desert areas in El Paso County. Many times, unfortunately, we have underage drinkers,” says Sheriff Richard Wiles.
“They’re all excited, we’re all excited, but there’s a certain way to keep that excitement to a controlled atmosphere,” adds Martiza Garcia, whose son graduated on Thursday.
The Sheriff’s Office operation consists of deputies patrolling areas where teens tend to drink.
“I was there before — so I mean — it’s a good idea. I totally agree with it,” said Tiffany Martin, who was attending her younger sister’s graduation.
Sheriff Wiles said, “A lot of times, they’ll go into desolate areas if they can access it through desert roads — they’ll do a bonfire and sit around and drink.”
With those activities also comes the possibility of driving under the influence.
“The alcohol consuming is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to $500, but where it gets difficult is if they have any alcohol on their breath when they’re driving,” adds Sheriff Wiles.
Wiles says those who are under 21 will be punished if they’re caught drinking and driving, even if they only have one sip of alcohol. “That’s a serious crime that can keep them from getting a license for a long time.”
If you’re 17 or older and happen to get pulled over with a blood or breathe alcohol level concentration above the legal limit (.08), you could face consequences such as: a fine of up to $2,000, 3 to 180 days in jail, and having your driver’s license suspended for 90 days to a year.