The production, distribution and sale of alcohol in the State of New York is regulated by the New York State Liquor Authority under the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It was established in 1762 to perform this function.
New York State Alcohol Law Basics
The liquor laws in New York are among the most lenient of all 50 states in America.
In the issuance of liquor licenses, the agency determines whether it is in the best interest of the public. It is mandated to increase and decrease alcohol trafficking based on how beneficial it will be for the public.
Businesses are not allowed to serve alcohol between the hours of 4 Am and 8 AM. Sunday is an exception to this rule. There are also exceptions to this at county level.
Customers may only bring their own bottle (B.Y.O.B) to premises that are licensed to sell liquor. In some states, businesses can get licenses that allow their customer to bring their own alcoholic drinks even if they do not sell alcohol.
The Scope of the New York State Liquor Authority
1. To issue or reject the issuance of liquor licenses to any business.
2. To limit the number of licenses issued at its discretion.
3. To revoke the licenses of individuals in violation. They are also permitted by law to issue penalties such as civic fines. Civic fines may not exceed $30,000.
4. To determine standards of production of alcoholic beverages.
5. To prohibit the sale of alcohol to the general public in emergency situations.
6. To restrict hours of sale.
There is a large number of liquor violations under alcohol law. Some are more common than others and it is always wise to know what these violations are in order to avoid them.
The biggest liquor violation is selling to a minor. A minor is described as an individual who is has not reached 21 years of age. Individuals purchasing liquor should show their identification documents to determine their age. If a minor visits a business that deals with alcohol they should be accompanied by an adult. Businesses suspected of selling to minors can be charged with unlawfully dealing with a minor.
Selling to an intoxicated person is also a violation of state laws in New York.
Patrons are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages after certain hours. If found selling to them at these hours, then a business will be charged.
Workers in establishments that sell alcohol such as bartenders, waiters and waitresses should be over 21 years of age. Workers who perform duties such as cleaning dishes where alcohol was served and carrying alcohol from trucks to the establishments should be above 16 years of age otherwise an individual may be charged with unlawfully dealing with a minor.
If you run a business in which disorderly conduct such as prostitution, drug-dealing and assault commonly occurs, you could risk your license being revoked or being charged hefty fines.
In order to serve outside, business premises require a Sidewalk Café Permit. If your business does not have one and you sell liquor outside you risk being in violation of the law. In addition, there is a special license for live music and/or dancing. Lacking this is in violation of your liquor permit.
Penalties for Violations
The violations listed above can incur various penalties as listed below.
1. Your right to buy, distribute and/or sell alcohol will be suspended for a set period of time.
2. Your license may be cancelled. In this case, you can still re-apply for another one. There is no time limit.
3. Civil fines in the state of New York can go as high as $30,000 for businesses and a few hundred dollars for individuals.
4. Your license may be revoked, and you will only be permitted to sell alcohol after two years.
The amount of time and fine depends on the gravity of the allegations against your business. It is wise to consult with a liquor license lawyer if found in violation of the liquor laws.
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