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Governor Cuomo Announces Results of Statewide Enforcement Campaign to Curtail Underage Drinking

Tuesday, May 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela Kelly
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State Liquor Authority Targets 756 Locations in Statewide Sweeps and Charges 200 Licensees with Selling to Minors 

Department of Motor Vehicles Makes Additional 48 Arrests of Minors Using Fake IDs to Buy Alcohol

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the results of coordinated efforts by the State Liquor Authority, the Department of Motor Vehicles and local law enforcement agencies to crack down on underage drinking throughout the state during the month of April. During this enforcement effort, SLA underage decoys visited 756 establishments, 200 of which made illegal sales. In addition, this April, DMV investigators arrested 48 people under the age of 21 attempting to use false identification to purchase alcohol.

"State and local law enforcement are taking proactive measures to deter underage drinking and to prevent the dangerous and potentially life-altering consequences that can come with it," Governor Cuomo said.  "We are committed to continuing these coordinated efforts to keep young New Yorkers and our communities safe." 

The SLA conducted 56 underage details in 45 counties, with investigators sending underage decoys into 756 establishments holding liquor licenses, including bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores, looking for retailers who sell alcohol to minors. During the investigations, SLA investigators entered the licensed premises separately from the undercover minor to observe and verify when illegal transactions occurred. The decoys were able to purchase alcohol at 200 businesses listed here. The 556 businesses that refused to sell to underage decoys are listed here.

As part of DMV's Operation Prevent Initiative, investigators arrested 48 people for possessing false identification and seized 47 fake identifications during the month of April. 

Central New York

·         12 arrests and 12 IDs seized at Alley Cats in Oswego: April 20

·         2 arrests and 2 IDs seized at The Sting in Oswego: April 20

Finger Lakes

·         11 arrests and 12 IDs seized at Somerton's Public House in Rochester: April 6

·         3 arrests and 3 IDs seized at Fazools Casual Kitchen in Brockport: April 21

·         2 arrests and 1 ID seized at The Red Jug Pub in Brockport: April 21

·         5 arrests and 5 IDs seized at Beef and Brew in Geneva: April 26

·         1 arrest 0 IDs seized at Parker's Grille and Tap House in Geneva: April 26

·         1 arrest and 1 ID seized at Rylie J's in Geneva: April 26

Mid-Hudson

·         10 arrests, 11 IDs seized at Murphy's Restaurant & Pub in New Paltz: April 27

·         1 arrest and 0 IDs seized at Oasis Café in New Paltz: April 27

Operation Prevent is an ongoing enforcement campaign which targets not only bars and drinking establishments, but concerts, events and other underage hot spots. As the summer concert season gets underway, DMV investigators will ramp up enforcement at these events.

The statewide sweeps supplement the SLA and DMV's routine underage enforcement efforts conducted throughout the year and build upon the Governor's successful safety initiatives to deter underage drinking and prevent the purchase and use of false identifications. In January 2018, Governor Cuomo announced the Department of Motor Vehicles charged 843 people with possessing fake identifications in 2017, a new statewide record. So far this year, 133 people have been arrested and 134 false IDs have been seized.

SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors is a priority for the State Liquor Authority and we will continue working with the DMV and local law enforcement to reduce incidences of underage drinking and the use of fake IDs.These large-scale enforcement efforts will continue to be part of our proactive efforts to prevent alcohol abuse among our youth."  

Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, said, "Underage drinking can cause harm in so many ways. It is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes involving teens and young adults. Safety is always our highest priority and it takes a team effort to stop underage drinking and to keep our roads safe for everyone. DMV and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee work closely with our colleagues at SLA and law enforcement to make sure young people know and appreciate the consequences of underage drinking and that establishments know to carefully check identifications to make sure none of their patrons are drinking illegally."

Arlene González-Sánchez, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, said, "Young people who engage in underage drinking are at great risk of developing substance use disorders later in life. If we can deter young people from drinking alcohol through initiatives like this crackdown campaign, we can save some people from the devastating consequences of addiction."

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 recommends that all licensees and employees who serve or sell alcoholic beverages take an Alcohol Training Awareness Program. These 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 avoid violations, including preventing sales to underage persons.

The SLA also continues to aggressively enforce underage drinking laws and provide education and training to licensees and their staff. In 2017, the SLA issued 1,031 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales. The SLA also increased the number of trainings to help reduce underage sales by certifying and promoting the Alcohol Training Awareness Program.  In 2017, 18,881 licensees and servers completed the SLA's ATAP, a 225 percent increase from 5,803 trainings in 2011.    

Additionally, NYS OASAS reports:

·         Drinking alcohol before age 21 can interfere with brain development, causing potential learning difficulties well into the early 20s; and

·         Early alcohol use is associated with poor grades, absenteeism and higher school dropout rates.