ALBANY — Welcome back, college students. Now don't buy alcohol if you're underage.
That's the message from state officials, who announced this week that will be boost efforts to combat underage drinking this fall as students return to college.
The state State Liquor Authority and the state Department of Motor Vehicles said they will be working with police to conduct statewide sweeps of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores holding liquor licenses to help put a stop to the use of fake IDs and the illegal sales of alcohol to minors.
“As the new college semester begins, this crackdown will help put an end to underage drinking and hold accountable those who enable it." Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The sweeps will target college campuses and the surrounding communities.
“Underage drinking presents a clear danger to students on college campuses throughout New York State,” DMV executive deputy commissioner Terri Egan said in a statement.
Anyone underage caught trying to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol illegally can be arrested and have their license suspended for up to one year.
Businesses found guilty of selling alcohol to anyone under 21 can face fines of up to $10,000 per violation. Repeat offenders can have their license suspended or revoked.
"Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors is a priority for the state Liquor Authority and we will continue working with the DMV and local law enforcement to reduce incidences of underage drinking and the use of fake IDs," the agency's chairman, Vincent Bradley, said in a statement.
Previous sweeps in recent years have led to 862 fraudulent licenses being confiscated and 818 individuals being arrested. Additionally, the Liquor Authority said the number of prosecutions for underage sales is up 50 percent since 2010.
They issued 1,077 penalties to licensed retailers found selling to people under age in 2016.
The Liquor Authority and the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association hold annual training sessions to help business owners.
The day-long session aim to help reduce underage sales, and they will held this fall in Buffalo, Utica, Binghamton, Syracuse and Tarrytown.