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New York Liquor Licensing Attorney Reviews Changes in Sales to Minors Law

Two significant amendments to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law in New York, pertaining to the sale of alcohol to minors, were recently passed. In short, these amendments:

  • Allow undercover agents to lie about their age
  • Provide a means for licensees to reduce penalties

Changes to investigative practice may ensnare more licensees

It is no secret that high school and college students are sometimes used to investigate allegations of alcohol sales to minors. In the past, if asked by the licensee, they were required to give their true age. That is no longer the case. In fact, the Authority now specifically advises agents that they may misrepresent (i.e., lie about) their age.

If you hold a New York liquor license, it is more important than ever to ensure that all of your employees request and examine documentary proof of age from your customers. The Liquor Authority recommends using scanners to verify that the identification is valid.

Alcohol Training Awareness Program enables reduced penalties for some

There are now two ways for a licensee to reduce its penalties if charged with selling alcohol to a minor. They apply only if the license holder had no violations in the previous five years.

  • If the person who sold the alcohol had a valid certificate for completing an Alcohol Training Awareness Program (ATAP) course at the time of the sale, the penalty is limited to a claim against the surety bond of the licensee
  • If not, the licensee can still obtain a 25 percent reduction of the penalty, if it provides proof that all employees directly involved in the sale or service of alcohol successfully completed an ATAP course within 90 days of the penalty

In both cases, it is the responsibility of the licensee to bring the ATAP course completion to the attention of the New York Liquor Authority attorney, and provide certificate proof.

The Liquor Authority maintains a list of classes and organizations certified to provide the ATAP courses on its website.

Contact us

If you need legal advice or someone to vigorously defend you against liquor law allegations, call us today at 212.521.0828 or contact us online to arrange for a free initial consultation at our Manhattan location. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and evenings by appointment.

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