TABC set to begin annual back-to-school undercover operations
Agents seeking to identify businesses selling alcohol to minors
AUSTIN — Agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are focusing their efforts across the state to ensure alcohol is sold safely and responsibly during the busy back-to-school season.
Agents from TABC’s Enforcement Division plan to conduct inspections at businesses located near major Texas universities and will work directly with business owners to scan IDs, such as driver licenses and state ID cards, to identify minors using false identification to buy alcohol.
The operation, which begins in mid-August and runs through early September, is part of TABC’s overall mission to keep alcohol out of the hands of anyone younger than 21. During the operation, minors working with TABC will enter businesses to purchase alcohol. If a sale takes place, TABC agents enter the business to notify its managers of the violation. TABC agents will also join security personnel at certain businesses to help screen customers’ IDs as they enter the premises.
TABC regularly conducts underage compliance operations in communities across Texas. Over the past 12 months, TABC agents visited hundreds of Texas retailers to curb sales of alcohol to minors. Those operations found that nearly 90% of the retailers visited were fully complying with state alcohol laws.
“Our goal with these operations is to collaborate with businesses to ensure they’re equipped to operate safely and successfully, especially as they prepare for a busy back-to-school period,” TABC Executive Director Thomas Graham said. “A primary part of our job at TABC is to help educate business owners about the best ways to ensure their customers, staff and their surrounding communities remain safe.”
Selling alcohol to a minor is a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. In addition, businesses cited by TABC for selling alcohol to minors might have to pay a fine and have their license to sell alcohol temporarily suspended. Minors who use a false ID to purchase alcohol could face a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Businesses with questions about best practices for safe alcohol sales can contact their local TABC office to request training or educational materials. Results of this year’s back-to-school operations will be announced in September.
TABC Public Information Officer