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TRACE Investigations

Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies

The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) recognizes the importance of doing everything possible to limit the number of “alcohol-connected emergencies.” One way to do this is by conducting investigations to discover the source of the alcohol that may have contributed to the incident.

To achieve this reduction and provide a safer and more secure environment, DPS adopted the Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) Program. TRACE aims to hold the provider of the alcohol accountable if any state laws or state liquor license agreements were violated. These investigations can affect the liquor license status of establishments through administrative action by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC). By holding individuals and establishments accountable, we can reduce the number of these incidents.

What is Utah TRACE?

The DPS Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) is responsible for enforcing the laws related to alcoholic beverages in the state. When we are notified by an investigating agency of an alcohol-related fatality, members of the team can initiate a TRACE investigation. We pursue accountability for violations regardless of the source of alcohol.

In a TRACE investigation into alcohol-connected crashes and incidents, our agents will pursue a line of questioning to identify where the alcoholic beverages were purchased or served. The TRACE investigation will not interfere with the local law enforcement agency’s investigation of the incident.

When conducting TRACE investigations, we will seek information regarding any violation of state law or state liquor license agreements. These violations could include providing or serving alcohol to minors or serving to an intoxicated person.

Investigating officers will collect evidence such as false identification, receipts, bags, labels, matches, and statements of witnesses to attempt to determine where the alcoholic beverages were obtained.

When we identify where someone may have illegally bought or have been served an alcoholic beverage by a DABC-licensed establishment, we will notify the DABC as soon as possible so they may start the administrative action process. If the DABC determines that a liquor outlet illegally provided alcohol to an individual under 21 or served an intoxicated person, the Department will suspend or revoke the liquor license of the business. Individuals found to have illegally provided alcohol to minors will be referred to local authorities for criminal prosecution.

Basic Criteria for TRACE Investigation (do not need all three)

  • Minor(s) involved
  • Alcohol-related fatality or serious injury
  • Alcohol served to an intoxicated person