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New York fights underage drinking with new driver's licenses

Drinking underage has become a sort of rite of passage for many young people in New York. Sometimes, this is harmless fun and other times this results in major and long-lasting consequences. In order to make it a bit more difficult for minors to get their hands on alcohol, as well as fight fraud, New York state's driver's licenses will undergo a redesign in July. The new cards--which have black and white photos printed on hard polycarbonate cards--are supposed to be very difficult to forge.

Currently, it is pretty easy for those under 21 to purchase fake IDs online. The new driver's licenses will be equipped with about 30 security features, including engraved personal data and variable patterns. New York is among several states that are revamping driver's license designs to prevent counterfeiting.

While the new driver's licenses might make it more difficult for underage New Yorkers to buy or consume alcohol, many minors can find a way to drink even without an ID--at a house rather than a club, for example. And the penalties remain very strict for both underage drinking and underage drinking and driving in New York.

Many people think that because underage drinking is common, authorities are not very tough on this crime. On the contrary, underage drinking and especially underage DWI lead to serious short- and long-term punishments--including driver's license suspension, fines and even jail time in some cases. One of the worst consequences for a minor is the creation of a criminal record, which can have an effect on a young person's future for years to come.

Young residents of the Newburgh area would do well to recognize that the state is serious about fighting underage drinking as well as drunk driving. Those who find themselves facing these types of criminal charges may benefit from criminal defense counsel.

Source: BBC News, "Why fake ID is an American rite of passage," Jon Kelly, April 7, 2013

Source: New York Times, "Black and White and Wallet-Size, Unfit for Faking," Jesse McKinley, March 16, 2013

  • Our law firm in Newburgh provides legal counsel to those facing DWI charges as well as other criminal charges.

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