State To Conduct Massive Underage Drinking Sweeps On Campuses And In College Towns

ALBANY – If you are a college student not old enough to legally drink alcohol in New York, but do, state law enforcement agencies will be coming after you.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has 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,” 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 Cuomo’s 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.

Those younger than 21 years old who are caught using a false ID or false documents with the intent to buy alcohol are subject to arrest and could 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.

Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings told WNYNewsNow’s Justin Gould and Matt Hummel that his agency, in conjunction with other police agencies, will work together when receiving complaints of underage serving in
“We work with the State Police and the (New York) State Liquor authority and we’ll go in and make sure they’re in compliance,” Snellings said.
Snellings said that, based on his knowledge, that his department doesn’t receive a lot of calls from the Jamestown Community College for underage drinking.

During underage drinking sweeps conducted in April, the State Liquor Authority charged 200 businesses with selling to a minor, and the DMV made 48 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to use false identification to purchase alcohol.

Cuomo announced earlier this month 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 smart phone 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.