What is the Alcohol Education Program?
Alcohol Education Program, AEP, targets the underage drinking population; educating them about the fatal consequences of alcohol use and associated high risk behavior.
Participants will be required to undergo programs which consist of counseling, education, community service, and other requirements that may be related to the crime. These will be determined on a case by case basis.
Why should I participate in AEP?
Education about the abuse of alcohol and associated high risk behavior can help you choose a better course for your life. Many scholarship programs require a crime free record.
If you are convicted of charges by entering a plea, or because you are found guilty at a trial, the conviction will remain on your record.
Once you have successfully completed the alcohol education program, the court will be notified and charges will be dismissed. You are then eligible to clear your arrest record of the dismissed charges.
Who is Eligible?
- Applicants must be 17 to 21 years old
- There must be no evidence of prior serious arrests
- Applicant must be either in school, disabled or employed in some capacity
- Applicants who are likely to respond quickly to alcohol and drug education
- Applicants wishing to serve justice to the state
- Applicant must be unlikely to be involved in further criminal activity
- Applicant poses no detectable threat to society
- Anyone charged with the following offenses:
- Purchase or possession of alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
- OPEN container
- Fake ID
- Transfer of beer to a minor
- Other alcohol offenses
- No driving alcohol offenses are eligible
How does AEP work?
- Defendants charged with any or all of the above offenses are REQUIRED to attend court on set date
- Defendants wishing to be placed in the AEP MUST request it during or before their court hearing
- After the request has been made, the Judge and Officer will sign the referral form and forward it to the Solicitor’s Office
- The defendant MUST bring the following items to enrollment:
- $250 money order or certified check
- Copy of the court referral
- Copy of the ticket/warrant
- Picture ID AND Social Security Card or verification of SS number
- Upon successful completion of the program, an expungement order for destruction of arrest records is prepared. The cost is $250 per expungement plus a $35 Clerk of Court fee. Money orders are the only accepted form of payment.
- Participants of the program are not participating in PTI and therefore are not losing their eligibility for PTI.
- Drug and Alcohol Education Classes
- Counseling if needed
- Community Service up to 40 hours
- Drug Testing
If you fail to live up to your Program agreement, or if you are charged with another offense, you will be immediately terminated from the program. Upon termination, your case will be returned to the court for full and swift prosecution.
Alcohol Education for Youth
Many offenders are unaware of the consequences of an alcohol conviction. In South Carolina an alcohol conviction may result in suspension of a driver’s license, loss of scholarship eligibility and financial aid as well as a criminal record.
Underage Drinking Statistics :
- By age 15, about 33% of teens have had at least 1 alcohol drink
- By age 18, about 60% of teens have had at least 1 alcohol drink
- In 2015, 7.7 million young people ages 12-20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month
- Underage drinking poses a range of risks and negative consequences. In 2011 alone, about 188,000 people under the age of 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries.
- Drinking can lead to poor decisions about engaging in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, sexual activity (such as unprotected sex), and aggressive or violent behavior. Underage youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of physical or sexual assault than those their age who do not drink.
- Study shows people who start drinking before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
SOURCE: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
An Important Message From Solicitor William B. Rogers, Jr.
“Underage drinking and alcohol abuse is a serious and growing problem in the Fourth Circuit. AEP is a collaborative effort of the Solicitor’s Office, Magistrates and Municipal Court Judges, Law Enforcement, and community service sites. This program is designed to provide education especially for offenders age 21 and under.
The purpose of AEP is to discourage underage drinking and alcohol abuse through education. This is accomplished through a series of alcohol educational sessions in each county, and a requirement of up to 40 hours in community service.”