The data for our analysis comes from two primary sources: legal research and in-depth interviews with officials of State alcohol enforcement agencies in 45 States and the District of Columbia2. Attorneys and staff on the project first reviewed alcohol beverage control statutes and regulations to determine State licensing systems, enforcement powers, and policies prescribing administrative penalties for specific types of alcohol violations. This research was completed using national legal databases and a variety of secondary sources. This information was then confirmed through phone interviews with State alcohol enforcement representatives. In each interview, respondents were asked to review the legal research results addressing 12 key alcohol policies (including the statutory penalties for each policy). Interviewers then asked detailed questions regarding licensing systems, enforcement resources and strategies, data collection processes, and the adjudication of alcohol violations. The interviews occurred from September 2001 through December 2002. Some of the policies, enforcement powers and resources discussed in this report may have changed during and since that time.
2 These interviews were conducted as part of a contract with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Contract Number IDC DTNH22-98-D-35079. In the remaining five States, the researchers were either not able to locate a State agency that held the primary responsibility for enforcing alcohol laws or the identified agency declined to participate in the interview. In addition, the enforcement of alcohol laws in Hawaii and Maryland is primarily conducted at the county level. In those States, interviews were conducted with representatives from one county. The results are therefore not applicable to the entire State.