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Underage Drinking Crackdown Leads To 112 Arrests In NY

Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement operations confiscated 127 fake IDs during the statewide crackdown.
Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement operations confiscated 127 fake IDs during the statewide crackdown. Photo Credit: New York State DMV

Underage drinking sweeps that took place from early March to the end of April statewide resulted in 112 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to purchase alcohol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced.

The sweeps, conducted by the State Liquor Authority, targeted 647 locations throughout New York.

A total of 184 of the 647 establishments made illegal sales, while Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement operations confiscated 127 fake IDs in making the 112 arrests of minors attempting to purchase alcohol.

Working with underage decoys, SLA investigators conducted operations with state police, local law enforcement, and DMV investigators across the state.

From March 21 through the end of April, SLA details visited 308 locations, with 92 businesses listed here illegally selling to minors. This is in addition to the 339 locations visited and 92 businesses charged with selling to a minor announced by Cuomo on March 29.

"Underage drinking can lead to bad decisions that could lead to potentially lifelong consequences," Governor Cuomo said. "This administration has zero tolerance for reckless and irresponsible behavior, and by working together with local law enforcement, this state continues to take proactive measures to crack down on underage drinking and those who enable it."

DMV's Operation Prevent investigations are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to deter underage drinking and keep New York’s roadways safe. The investigations are conducted all year long, not only at bars and drinking establishments, but also at concerts, events, or wherever underage patrons are likely to gather.

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. 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.

"Ensuring the safety of our communities and roadways by cracking down on underage drinking is a top priority for this administration," said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. "By partnering with the DMV and local law enforcement, we’re intensifying our efforts to reduce incidences of underage drinking and the use of fake identification."

"Mixing drinking and driving is a deadly cocktail, particularly when infused with youth and inexperience, which is why we at DMV and our law enforcement partners are so determined to prevent underage drinking and impaired driving," said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. "Operation Prevent is a year-round initiative, but this effort is critically important during graduation season and the summer months, when underage drinking tends to spike. We will continue to do all we can to help keep our roadways safe for everyone."

In December, Cuomo announced that underage drinking sweeps conducted by DMV investigators, in cooperation with SLA and law enforcement agencies, resulted in the single year record of 862 fraudulent licenses seized and the arrest of 818 underage individuals.

Additionally, the SLA issued 1,077 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales in 2016, while increasing the number of trainings under the Alcohol Training Awareness Program. The number of ATAP trainings, a program designed to curb underage drinking and sales to intoxicated patrons, increased from 5,803 in 2011, to 19,781 in 2016, including over 500 business owners and more than 750 employees receiving free ATAP training hosted by the SLA in collaboration with the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association.

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