The Law

While the legal drinking age is 21 across all fifty states, underage drinking is an enormous public health issue where annually, about 5,000 youth under age 21 die from motor vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, and homicides and suicides that involve underage drinking. Drinking by college students also contributes nationally to an annual estimated 97,000 sexual assaults, 696,000 assaults and 1,825 deaths.

Nassau County Social Host Law

You and anyone over the age of 18 are breaking the law if you give alcohol to your teen’s friends who are under the age of 21, under any circumstance. You and anyone over the age of 18 are subject to prosecution under the Social Host Law if you knowingly allow a person under 21 to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. A Social Host Law violation is a misdemeanor – a criminal conviction punishable by progressive fines and penalties:

  • 1st offense is subject to a fine of $250;
  • 2nd offense is subject to a fine of $500; and the
  • 3rd offense and future offenses are subject to a fine of $1000 and/or up to a year in jail.

New York State STOP Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

In New York State, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  In addition, it is a Class E Felony to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle. If convicted, the court requires the installation and use of an ignition interlock device.

New York State General Obligation's Law

In New York State, any person injured by a minor who is intoxicated, or whose ability is impaired may sue for the resulting damage against whoever knowingly provided the alcohol to the minor (Stop DWI New York).

New York State Good Samaritan Law

In New York State, a person who in good faith seeks care for himself or someone experiencing a life threatening emergency will not be charged or prosecuted for a drug or alcohol related offense including possession of drug paraphernalia, with some exceptions.

Protection does not extend to offenses involving drug trafficking and sale, obstruction or interference with law enforcement, and possession of felony amounts of controlled substances or marijuana.

New York State Profile of Underage Age Drinking Laws

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) provides detailed information on a wide variety of alcohol-related laws and policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels. Detailed state-by-state information is available particularly relevant to underage drinking. It provides summary information by state for each policy topic.