New York City Summons for Sale of Alcohol to Minors

Posted By Galluzzo and Johnson LLP || 2-Oct-2015

Many frustrated bar and restaurant owners in New York City have been cited for violating section 65 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law ("ABC Law") on account of a sale to a minor. Oftentimes, the City will send in junior "explorers" or other underage people to purposefully purchase alcohol in a restaurant or bar in an attempt to drum up violations, which they can then monetize through summonses and State Liquor Authority ("SLA") enforcement.

If you receive a summons for underage sale a summons for sale to a minor, you will probably be sent initially to the courthouse at 346 Broadway, where all summonses in New York and Kings Counties are dealt with.

Violations of ABC Law § 65 are misdemeanors, as no particular penalty is spelled out elsewhere in the chapter. See ABC Law § 130(5). Thus, if a violation occurs, the violator - whether it be a corporation or an individual - would be facing a permanent criminal record. The corporate consequences of a criminal conviction cannot all be discussed here, but suffice it to say, it is not a good thing for any type of business association (or individual for that matter) to maintain a criminal record.

Should you or your business receive such a summons, your attorney should be able to negotiate with the judge or attorney handling the case and try for a non-criminal disposition of the charges. Of course, corporations and certain other business associations must appear by an attorney per New York state law.

Even if your criminal case is successfully handled, you are not necessarily out of the woods. The SLA can still "look back" several years to investigate ABC law violations and subject your business to additional penalties, up to and including the permanent revocation of your liquor license.

It is important for owners, bartenders, and other employees in the restaurant industry to seek the advice of experienced alcoholic beverage control law attorneys (such as Galluzzo & Arnone LLP [link above]) who can assist in process and offer guidance and counsel with a view toward minimizing the impact of these cases on their lives and businesses.