The State Liquor Authority today announced the results of multi-agency efforts to crack down on underage drinking throughout the state during the month of October. The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), with assistance from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and local law enforcement agencies, conducted sweeps at SLA licensed businesses throughout the state, including bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores, designed to deter them from selling alcohol to minors. Out of 812 businesses, visited for compliance checks, 156 were found to be selling to underage agents.
“The SLA will carry on with these efforts, throughout the year, to hold licensed establishments accountable,” said Vincent G. Bradley, Chairman of the New York State Liquor Authority. “It is our obligation to uphold the law and to ensure our licensees are aware of their responsibilities. Our continued partnership with the DMV and local law enforcement helps us strengthen our efforts to stop underage drinking and the use of fake identification.”
The SLA conducted 55 underage details in 38 counties, with investigators sending underage decoys into 812 locations holding liquor licenses. The decoys were able to purchase alcohol at 156 businesses listed here. The 656 businesses refusing to sell to underage decoys are listed here. The SLA has checked over 2,000 locations so far in 2019.
Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, said, “The DMV is proud to partner with SLA and law enforcement to protect young people from making a terrible mistake by drinking when they are not yet of legal age, which is especially dangerous if they are driving. Our investigators are well-trained to spot fake IDs, no matter how good you think they look.”
Licensees charged with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting from $2,500 to $3,000 for a first-time offense. Repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses. Additionally, employees or licensees who sell to minors can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Persons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent of purchasing alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year.
The State Liquor Authority and the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association are hosting a series of free compliance trainings throughout the state. Trainings were held in Western and Central New York in November, and another more train is scheduled for December 3, 2019 in Long Island. These day-long programs for bar, restaurant and tavern owners and their staff focus on the legal responsibilities of selling alcohol and provide training in practical skills to help licensees and their employees fulfill their legal responsibilities, including preventing sales to minors.