Public safety is a team effort. Servers, bartenders and other employees at bars, restaurants and stores are the first line of defense against underage drinking and drunk driving.
Underage Drinking and Alcohol Sales
Making sure you don't sell alcohol to minors is good business and it's the law. Making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a class A misdemeanor punishable by:
- A fine of up to $4,000.
- A year in jail.
- Automatic 180-day driver's license suspension.
21 To Enter Sign
This is an optional sign for package stores. Under the law, minors may not enter the premises of a package store unless accompanied by an adult parent, spouse or guardian.
Businesses have the legal right to ask for IDs to verify someone's age when purchasing alcohol. Although companies are not required to check IDs, businesses can be held administratively responsible and their employees can be held criminally responsible for selling to someone under 21.
Under the law, permittees can claim Safe Harbor if they or their employees took steps to ensure they checked IDs, all employees had a current TABC certification, and rules were posted at the establishment about checking IDs and not selling to minors or intoxicated people. An ID needs to meet all these requirements:
- Has a physical description and photograph consistent with the minor's appearance.
- Purports to establish that the minor is 21 or older.
- Was issued by a governmental agency.
Acceptable types of ID include a driver's license issued by any state, a U.S. passport, a military identification card or any other ID issued by a state or the federal government.
Drinking and Driving
Overserving and overconsuming alcohol can have serious — even deadly — consequences. Employees of TABC licensed and permitted businesses play a role in preventing drunk driving. By following state laws, servers can do their part to keep roads safe.
For more information about DWIs, visit these websites:
Underage Drinking and Driving
It’s illegal for someone under 21 to get behind the wheel with any detectable alcohol in their system. The laws also apply to watercraft.
Retailer Education and Awareness Program
Each time employees stop service to a minor or intoxicated person, they are protecting themselves, the business and the community from serious consequences.
The Retailer Education and Awareness Program (REAP) provides owners, managers and general employees of retail establishments continued education to help them follow the state’s alcoholic beverage laws. REAP training is often required when an administrative case is settled, but retailers can request the training at any time.
Agents and auditors will cover topics like:
- Human trafficking
- Intervention techniques
- Consumer Delivery Permit (CD) and overview of regulations
- Marketing practices promotions
- Compliance reporting
- Breaches of peace
- Safe harbor
- Dram shop liability
Cooperative Operations Program
Retailers can request assistance from TABC to prevent illegal or violent activity on their premises.