New York law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21 and also prohibits the consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. The sale of alcohol to persons under the age of 21 is a misdemeanor, but an arrest and conviction can cause damage to a business’ reputation. Three persons on Long Island may be about to learn this lesson after a sting operation by the Suffolk County Police.
Enforcing the law on underage drinking can be difficult because police are rarely present when an illegal sale takes place. To solve this problem, the Police identified several businesses as potential violators of the prohibition on selling alcohol to minors. In setting up a sting operation, the Police decided to add a few businesses chosen at random to bring the total amount of businesses subject to the sting to ten. Police officers, including several underage officers, visited the ten businesses.
Three businesses were charged with selling alcohol to minors. The remaining seven were found in compliance with the law. The three business charged with violating the law were issued field appearance tickets and are scheduled to appear in district court in a few days.
While evidence obtained in a sting operation or police raid may appear to be overwhelming, the accused are still entitled to be presumed innocent until they have been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Any person charged with selling alcohol to minors may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide an analysis of the facts and charges in the case, potential defense strategies, and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or an outright acquittal.
Source: Long Island Exchange, “Police: Three People Arrested for Selling Alcohol to a Minor in Huntington Station,” October 26, 2015