When Ohio’s law enforcement officers and troopers are investigating alcohol-related crashes and incidents, another component that is often investigated is the source of the alcohol – or trace-back investigations.
Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit have been tracing the source of alcohol in these types of incidents for many years.
The intent is to identify the seller, server or provider of the alcohol and to determine if the server or provider acted within Ohio’s liquor laws. OIU agents determine if the individual was old enough to consume or possess alcohol and was the person intoxicated when they were served.
“We investigate to hold bars, restaurants and convenient stores accountable for their sales,” Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf said. “The sooner our agents get involved with these cases, the more successful we are in finding the source of the alcohol.”
Agents have two courses of action to take if laws are found to be broken. Criminal charges can be filed against individuals, and administrative charges can be filed against the liquor permit.
Here are this year's statistics, as of Sept. 3:
Trace-back cases closed unfounded: 44
Trace-back cases closed via administrative citation: 3
Trace-back cases closed via arrest: 9
Trace back cases closed via administrative citation and arrest: 4
Open Trace-back cases: 18
Administrative charges are presented to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for their consideration. Administrative penalties include fines, suspensions or liquor permit revocation.