New York Alcohol Laws
In New York, there are many laws about alcoholic beverages. Below is an overview of these laws.
In New York, wine and spirits may only be sold in liquor stores. Supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations are only permitted to sell beer.
Laws That Restrict Alcohol Sales Hours
The law states that, unless a municipality states otherwise, beer may be sold 24 hours a day. Before 2006, it was illegal to sell beer on Sunday mornings between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m.; however, this law has been repealed. Typically, the further away from New York City or other major cities, the more restrictive the sales hours are. In New York City, beer may be sold 24-hours a day, 7-days a week; but in Syracuse, beer may only be sold from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m.
The laws pertaining to the sales of wine and liquor are much stricter. The sales are banned from midnight until 9 a.m. on weeknights and Saturday. On Sunday, sales may only occur between noon and 9 p.m.
In New York, alcohol may not be sold on premises from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Some cities, such as Syracuse, have an earlier “last call,” where bars must stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m.
New York's Minimum Drinking Age
The drinking age in New York is 21. This is due to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. This act reduced the federal highway funding by up to 10% for any states that did not have a minimum drinking age of 21. It is illegal for people under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages in public. Minors may also be arrested for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.02%.
In New York, a driver may be charged with DWI (driving while impaired) with a BAC of 0.08%. A DWI conviction leads to many penalties such as time in jail, hefty fines, and the loss of your driver’s license for at least 6 months (depending on the charge). A minor may be charged if he or she has a BAC of 0.02%.
If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense in New York, it is a good idea to talk to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.