SLA and DMV Partner to Conduct Underage Operations in College Towns Across the State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a joint effort by state agencies to crack down on underage drinking on college campuses and in college towns as the fall semester begins. The New York State Liquor Authority and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, working 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 illegal sales to minors.
"Underage drinking can lead to bad decisions that could have lifelong consequences, or worse, and this administration is committed to taking proactive measures to prevent young New Yorkers from purchasing and abusing alcohol," Governor Cuomo said. "These statewide enforcement sweeps will continue to be a part of our efforts to deter underage drinking and the avoidable tragedies that too often follow."
The combined enforcement effort will begin immediately as college students return to campus for the fall semester. The enhanced enforcement sweeps build upon the Governor's successful safety initiatives to deter underage drinking and prevent the purchase and use of false identification documents, and supplement the State Liquor Authority and DMV's regular underage enforcement efforts conducted throughout the year.
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. Additionally, businesses charged by the State Liquor Authority with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, and repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their liquor licenses.
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "Under Governor Cuomo, state agencies are combining their resources and working with local law enforcement to crack down on underage drinking and the use of fake IDs. Licensees are reminded to make every effort to ensure they are not selling to minors, including taking the simple and straightforward step of checking the ID of anyone appearing to be underage."
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and GTSC Acting Chair Terri Egan said, "With the help of new technology, our investigators can detect even the most sophisticated fake IDs. We are not out to spoil the start of anyone's semester. Our goal is to deter underage students from abusing alcohol and possibly putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. We are proud to work with the SLA and law enforcement in support of the Governor's efforts to curb underage drinking throughout the state."
OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "There is no greater influence on a young person's decisions about alcohol or drug use than the support system around them. Governor Cuomo's initiative to crack down on underage drinking involves the efforts of entities and individuals who are in a position to protect and deter young adults from underage drinking and make a positive impact in their lives."
On May 9, Governor Cuomo announced that during underage drinking sweeps conducted in April 2018, the State Liquor Authority charged 200 businesses with selling to a minor, and DMV made 48 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to use false identification to purchase alcohol.
On August 3, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of a new DMV pilot program using state-of-the-art technology to crack down on underage drinking and the use of fake IDs. The new technology, developed by New York-based company Intellicheck Inc., allows law enforcement to scan a license or ID using the Intellicheck "Law ID" app on the investigator's smartphone and match it against driving records from all 50 states. Within seconds, investigators know if an ID is authentic or not. New York is the first state in the nation to pilot the program. Later this month, additional DMV investigators will begin using this technology in the field.
This fall, the State Liquor Authority and the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association will again host a series of free compliance trainings throughout the state. 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.
Research shows that each year, nationwide:
- More than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related injuries;
- 696,000 college students are assaulted by another student that has been drinking; and
- 97,000 college students experience alcohol-related sexual assault.
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.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).