Record Number of Underage Drinking Citations Issued and Fake IDs Seized
More Than 1,100 Charges Issued for Selling to a Minor
Enforcement Efforts Help Promote Healthier Choices Among Young New Yorkers and Enhance Safety on Roadways
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State's efforts to deter underage drinking and promote health and public safety resulted in a record number of fake identification seizures and citations issued in 2019. A total of 918 fake IDs were seized—up from 892 in 2018. In addition, a record of 1,016 citations were issued to people attempting to buy alcohol while underage—up from 922 citations issued in 2018. This enforcement initiative helps educate young New Yorkers and prevent avoidable tragedies on our roadways.
"Underage drinking is a serious and dangerous offense that will not be tolerated," Governor Cuomo said. "These record numbers underscore our strong commitment to cracking down on underage drinking and holding those who enable it accountable."
The seizures and citations are part of the Operation Prevent initiative, a year-round enforcement effort led by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. It focuses on cracking down on underage drinking and the sale of alcohol to minors at concert venues, bars, restaurants and alcohol retailers throughout the state. In 2019, DMV investigators carried out enforcement sweeps at 127 locations statewide.
Citations and fake ID seizures by region include:
Fake IDs Seized
Central New York
Western New York
In addition, the State Liquor Authority conducted 165 operations at 2,253 locations across the state resulting in 480 charges for selling alcohol to a minor. In total in 2019, the SLA issued 1,159 charges.
The SLA also continued to promote compliance through the Alcohol Training Awareness Program, a training focused on reducing sales to minors and intoxicated patrons. The number of ATAP trainings completed by licensees and their staff increased by nearly 20 percent from 23,139 in 2018 to 27,092 in 2019. 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 as part of Governor Cuomo's continued efforts to combat underage drinking.
Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, said, "Our investigators are well-trained to spot even the best-looking fake identifications. Young people should know that buying a fake ID is a waste of their money and puts them at risk of being charged with violating the law. More importantly, being impaired by consuming alcohol can have dangerous, lifelong consequences."
Vincent Bradley, State Liquor Authority Chairman, said, "Cracking down on underage drinking remains a priority for the State Liquor Authority. Under Governor Cuomo, we have significantly augmented our resources by coordinating our efforts with the DMV and local law enforcement to help keep our communities safe by cracking down on these illegal sales."
New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "These prevention efforts are an important way that we can educate young people about the serious negative consequences associated with underage drinking. Operation Prevent is making a real difference across New York State, and helping to support our efforts to combat underage alcohol use."
Persons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent of purchasing alcohol can be ticketed and have their license suspended or 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. Additionally, employees or licensees who sell to minors can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.
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).