ALBANY -- Over the next two months New York will be boosting efforts to crack down on underage drinking.
From now through April, the Liquor Authority plans to conduct sweeps at more than 500 locations holding liquor licenses, while the state Department of Motor Vehicles will be out searching for fake IDs.
And the state will be using "underage minor decoys" to test the enforcement of the state's drinking laws at bars, restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores, officials said.
“Underage drinking and fake IDs are not only illegal, but can lead to reckless decisions that can have life-altering consequences,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
“These operations will build on our successful efforts to protect our state’s youth, safeguard our roadways from impaired drivers and hold accountable those who seek to enable this dangerous behavior."
The drinking age in New York is 21, and the effort will focus on businesses selling alcohol to minors-- as well as minors who attempt to purchase alcohol with fake IDs.
In December, the state conducted sweeps on underage drinking, leading to the seizure of 862 fake IDs and the arrest of 818 underage individuals -- both single-year records, according to Cuomo’s office.
Last year, the Liquor Authority issued 1,077 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales.
Businesses charged with underage sales face fines up to $10,000 per violation, although a first time offense usually ranges between $2,500 and $3,000.
Individuals under 21 who are caught using a fake ID or false documents to purchase alcohol can be arrested and could have their licenses revoked for between 90 days and a year.