Posted: November 13, 2017

Minors and Alcohol in New York State

There are a number of laws that deal with alcohol and people under 21 years of age.  Everyone knows that it is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor. (Alcohol Beverage Control Law/ABC Law§65(1)). It is also commonly known that providing alcohol to a person under age 21 is a crime (Penal Law§260.20(2)).  There is an exception, in situations where tasting/drinking of alcoholic beverages is part of curriculum, for example someone under 21 years old who is training to be a chef or sommelier. (Penal Law§260.20(2) & ABC Law§65(5).) Additionally, the Penal Law ban does not apply to the parent or guardian of the minor.  

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While the penal law ban does not apply to the parent/guardian of the minor, this does not mean a parent or guardian can supply alcohol in an irresponsible manner.  Providing alcohol to a person under the age of 21 in an inappropriate manner can be result in being charged with another crime Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Penal Law § 260.10).  If someone other than a parent or guardian provides alcohol to a minor, s/he can also be charged under the EWOC statute.  (A minor just being present where alcohol is being served is not enough to be charged with a crime People v Weyrick, 55 Misc2d 1063)

Minors Buying Alcohol with Fake ID

Minors can also run afoul of the law when they attempt to purchase alcohol with a fraudulent ID. If a minor is caught trying to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol, at a minimum they can be charged with a violation of ABC §65-b(5). If convicted of this violation, the minor’s driver’s license is subject to suspension. Attempting to use a fake ID can also result in a more serious charge of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 3rd Degree, punishable by up to one year in jail or a $1000 fine.

DUI with a Child in Car

Driving under the influence with a child in the car constitutes an additional crime under Leandra’s Law.  Anyone driving drunk with a child in their vehicle is subject to be charged with a felony Aggravated DWI, carrying a maximum penalty of 4 years incarceration. In New York there is a zero tolerance policy in regards to minors driving with any alcohol in the system.  While minors with BAC between .02-.07% may not receive additional criminal charges, they can still face administrative hearings and license sanctions through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Talk to Us at Team Green

If you are the parent of a minor charged with any of the various laws applying to underage drinking, it is imperative that you hire an attorney who knows the law and how to resolve such charges without jeopardizing future opportunities for your child. Contact us at Green & Brenneck to discuss your options and how best to prevent a youthful mistake from closing doors in your child’s future.