SLA and DMV Partner to Conduct Operations Across the State; SLA Investigators to Visit 500 Licensed Businesses
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today 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 agencies, 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."
Governor Cuomo's safety initiatives are focused on deterring underage drinking and preventing the purchase and use of false identification. 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."
Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "I applaud all those working in collaboration to crack down on underage drinking. The use of fake identification and sale of alcohol to minors puts New York's youth at risk and others if they choose to drive after drinking. The record number of fake identification seizures last year shows that we and our partners at SLA and in law enforcement take this issue seriously and will continue to do so."
OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "Underage drinking can result in multiple health problems for young people, including a greater risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life. These crackdowns are important prevention efforts that will help deter young folks from engaging in risky behaviors and keep them safe. We are pleased to work with the Governor and other state agencies on this and other valuable initiatives to help save lives."
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 (ATAP) 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 (ESRTA). This fall, the SLA and ESRTA are again hosting a series of free compliance trainings throughout the state as part of Governor Cuomo's continued efforts to combat underage drinking.