Common Violations of ABC Law and How to Avoid Them

Posted on: August 16, 2018

New York State’s often contentious yet strictly enforced Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, abbreviated to ABC law, leaves little room for error when servicing alcohol to the populace. In fact, not only could criminal charges ensue for violations of liquor laws, businesses can be closed by force and stripped of their ability to retain licensure forever.

Compliance with laws is the bar or restaurant owner’s sole responsibility. With an ABC law attorney working closely with liquor establishments, however, remaining compliant should be much easier than the alternative – fighting the state alone.

How to Stay ABC compliant

It is pretty simple, actually.

The first rule of thumb is to request identification from everyone, even if they appear older than 21. ABC is notorious for sending underage persons into establishments dressed as older persons, complete with beards. Leave nothing to chance; check all ID’s prior to serving alcohol. Underage drinking is charged to both bar, and person.

Never serve intoxicated persons. This goes without saying. People who have too much may jump behind the wheel or commit other acts of violence against bar patrons, leaving bar owners like yourself liable for damages. If persons appear too inebriated to carry on a rational conversation, its best to offer them coffee, or show them the exit.

Repeated violations of the aforementioned laws may constitute local authorities seeking injunctive relief, including the labeling of your establishment as a public nuisance.

So, ABC laws don’t cover drugs or gambling?

Let’s find out.

According to legislation, establishments that engage in, or allow, gambling or the possession or sale of narcotics can be held criminally liable, and fined or sanctioned under ABC law. Lewd behavior, such as allowing sexual acts and similar unsavory activities to transpire are also litigable offenses.

Employment of minors, selling alcohol after regulated hours and allowing open containers to leave bars and migrate to unauthorized areas may also constitute violations of ABC regulations.

Areas of ABC law that don’t affect liquor businesses

This will shock you.

Parents in New York are permitted to provide alcohol to their minor children, but not others’ kids. This accounts only for personal properties, and not public places.
Alcohol-serving establishments who had their product seized may appeal to the courts to have their alcohol return, although an illegal search and seizure of liquor may be grounds for automatic return and dismissal of allegations.

I should probably retain an ABC lawyer

For many reasons. Here are some.

It is an attorney’s job to both help businesses who violate the law and provide preventative measures so laws are not disturbed. Because ABC laws are adjudicated with such seriousness in New York, it is best to retain competent counsel if your pub anticipates violations are forthcoming.

Think of an ABC law professional as an insurance policy. They may be practitioners of law, but they are also retainable if you are wanting a compliance overview of your business to prevent future violations.

Violating any part of ABC law has serious implications. A well-known Brewster ABC law attorney can be via the web at, or by phoning (845) 363-1994.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.