Risk-Based Focus

During the 2005 and 2007 review of TABC by the Sunset Commission, Sunset staff recommended that TABC use their resources more efficiently and effectively by focusing on high-risk locations. As a result, TABC agents and compliance staff began conducting more frequent inspections on TABC-licensed locations that have a recent violation history. These permit holders became known as "priority locations."

When a licensed establishment is involved in certain administrative or criminal violations, it indicates a risk to public safety. TABC refers to these breaches of the law as “public safety violations,” and they include incidents involving:

  • Minors;
  • Intoxicated Persons;
  • Drugs;
  • Breaches of the Peace (fighting); and
  • Sales or consumption of alcoholic beverages during prohibited hours.

A location that is cited for a public safety violation is included on the agency’s Priority List, and risk-based inspections are conducted to ensure that the Priority Location complies with the law.

If an agent issues more than one citation on one occasion, this will only count as one violation for the purpose of the priority list.

TABC’s Enforcement Division monitors the occurrence of these public safety violations. Agents will work with license and permit holders in an effort to eliminate the public safety risk.

How often can a Priority Location expect to be inspected?

PRIORITY ONE. A location will be classified as priority one when an agent issues an administrative notice for a public safety violation.

A location classified as Priority One will be inspected at least once every 14 days until it has undergone three inspections with no public safety violations found. At that time, the location will become a Priority Two.

PRIORITY TWO. A location will be classified as priority two when:

  • the location was previously classified as priority one and completes three consecutive inspections in which no additional public safety violations are found;
  • the location was previously classified as priority three and an agent issues one or more additional citations for a public safety criminal violation committed on the licensed premises; or
  • the location is not classified as a priority location and an agent issues a citation for a public safety criminal violation committed on the licensed premises (felony committed by any person, or class A or B misdemeanor committed by the permittee).

A location classified as Priority Two will be inspected at least once a month until six months have passed since the last public safety violation. At that time, the location will become a Priority Three.

PRIORITY THREE. A location will be classified as priority three when:

  • the location was previously classified as priority two and it has been six months since the last public safety violation; or
  • the location was not previously classified as a priority location and an agent issues a citation for a public safety criminal violation committed on the licensed premises (misdemeanor usually committed by someone other than the permittee).

A location classified as Priority Three will be inspected at least once every three months until it has been 12 months since the last public safety violation. At that time, the location will drop off the Priority List.

Inspections may be conducted in an open or undercover capacity.

How will a permit holder know he/she is on the Priority List?

When a location is first classified as Priority One or Two, an agent will attempt to arrange a meeting with the permittee or licensee.

The agent will explain the following topics:

  • the purpose of risk-based enforcement;
  • the priority list;
  • the reason the location is on the priority list;
  • the general inspection schedule for the different levels of the priority list; and
  • the possibility that some inspections may be conducted undercover.

The agent will offer Project SAVE education to the license or permit holder, as well as suggestions of “best practices” and others ways to prevent violations of the law.

TABC will allow time for the license or permit holder to make operational changes before conducting follow-up inspections. Locations will be given more time if the training is accepted (possibly a few weeks) versus if it is denied (possibly only a few days).