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Responsible Alcohol Service

One of the most important obligations of a TABC permit holder is the responsible service of alcoholic beverages. TABC-licensed retailers and their employees are legally and ethically obligated to refuse sales to minors and intoxicated persons. People in the service industry are encouraged to attend a TABC-approved Seller Training Course and be trained in how to identify minors and intoxicated persons.

TABC takes steps to educate retailers of responsible alcohol service through the Manager's Awareness Program and Seller Training Certification.

Sale to Minor

Section 106.03 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code makes it a crime to sell alcoholic beverages to a minor. Sale to minor is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. Retail employees should ask for an ID for any customer attempting to purchase or consume alcohol if the customer is not obviously at least 21 years old.

Sale to Intoxicated Person

Section 101.63 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code makes it a crime to sell alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person. Selling alcohol to an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 and/or up to a year in jail. Bartenders, wait staff and store clerks are legally obligated to look for signs of intoxication and to refuse to continue serving someone who appears to be intoxicated.

Civil Liability

TABC license or permit holders may be held civilly liable for personal injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises.

Administrative Penalties for the Permit Holder

If an employee serves a minor or an intoxicated person, a TABC license or permit holder can receive a fine or have their permit suspended or canceled.

Public Intoxication

Chapter 49.02 of the Texas Penal Code makes public intoxication a crime. Appearing in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that he/she may be a danger to himself/herself or others is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.

Chapter 1.07(40) of the Penal Code defines a public place as "any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities and shops." Chapter 47.01(8) specifically excludes restaurants, taverns, and nightclubs from being private places.

Blood Alcohol Percentage Chart

View a chart that shows the number of drinks an average person can consume before reaching .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). These are averages, and in addition to a person’s body weight, his or her gender and the amount of food in the stomach can affect the rate of absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Please keep in mind that a person could be intoxicated with a lower BAC if they have a low tolerance for alcohol and lose their normal use of physical or mental faculties. Medications, health, and psychological condition can also change how alcohol affects a person.

Signs of Intoxication

Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Just two or three drinks can cause some people to act in ways that they normally would not. Loud or slurred speech, exaggerated movements and unsteady balance are the most common symptoms exhibited. Employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages should be aware of the signs of intoxication.

Driving While Intoxicated

One of the most serious consequences of the over-service or over-consumption of alcoholic beverages is accidents resulting from driving while intoxicated.

For more information about driving while intoxicated, visit these websites:

Texas Department of Transportation -
US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jacqui Saburido

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