April initiative seeks out illegal sales and purchases
ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a joint effort by state agencies to crack down on underage drinking throughout the state during the month of April.
The New York State Liquor Authority and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, along with local law enforcement, will conduct statewide sweeps of locations holding liquor licenses, including bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores, looking for fake IDs and retailers who sell alcohol to minors.
"These statewide enforcement sweeps are proactive measures to deter underage drinking that can lead to life-altering consequences," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is committed to building on our already successful efforts to protect our state's youth, keep our roadways safe, and hold those who enable underage drinking accountable."
These statewide sweeps are in addition to the SLA and DMV's underage enforcement efforts conducted throughout the year. In January 2019, Governor Cuomo announced the DMV charged 892 individuals with possessing fake identifications in 2018.
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "It is a priority for the State Liquor Authority to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors and our responsibility to make sure businesses are following the law. Working with the DMV enables us to target both businesses selling to minors as well as those attempting to purchase fake IDs."
Persons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent to purchase alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year. Businesses charged by the SLA with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, and repeat offenders face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses. Additionally, employees or licensees who sell to minors can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.
The SLA continues to aggressively enforce underage drinking laws and provide education and training to licensees and their staff. In 2018, the SLA issued 1,090 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales. The number of Alcohol Training and Awareness trainings completed by licensees and their staff increased by more than 20 percent from 18,881 in 2017 to 23,139 in 2018. This includes more than 400 business owners and servers who received free ATAP training hosted by the SLA in collaboration with the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association.