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Key #1: Know the Law
One of the most important jobs you will do as a seller or server of alcoholic beverages is to prevent illegal sales to minors. It is important to know what is illegal with regards to selling or serving alcohol to minors. The first key in this lesson covers what the law says, what is legal or illegal for minors, and what is legal or illegal for you to do.
Laws About Minors and Alcohol
It is a criminal offense for a minor to purchase, possess, attempt to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Remember that a minor is defined as a person under the age of 21 in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
A minor may legally purchase alcohol when:
he or she is under the supervision of a commissioned peace officer.
A minor may legally possess alcohol:
if he or she is legally selling or serving alcohol as an employee; Effective 5/1/2015, Section 106.09 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code was amended to allow a person under 18 to work as a cashier for transactions involving the sale of alcohol if it’s for on-premise consumption and served by a person 18 years old or older and the business gets less than 50% of gross receipts from alcohol. when in the visible presence of his or her adult (21 or over) parent, guardian or spouse; if he or she is under the supervision of a police officer in the enforcement of the alcoholic beverage code (in a Minor Sting Operations).
A minor may only legally taste alcohol if:
they are a student enrolled in certain college courses of study and the minor must spit out the alcoholic beverage.
Penalties: First and Second Offenses
When minors are found guilty of illegally purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, and/or consuming alcohol, there are legal consequences to pay. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code details the penalties that the minor may receive. Here is a summary of the penalties for first and second-time offenses:
1st Offense: Class C Misdemeanor.
Fine of up to $500 Required to attend alcoholic awareness course Community service for 8 to 12 hours Suspension of driving license or permit for 30 days
2nd Offense: Class C Misdemeanor
Fine of up to $500 Required to attend alcoholic awareness course Community service for 20 to 40 hours Suspension of driving license or permit for 60 days
Penalties: Third Offenses
If a minor is 17 or older and commits a third (or more) offense, he or she can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is more serious than a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties include: Fine of $250 to $2,000 and/or jail term of up to 180 days Driving license or permit suspended for 180 days. 20 to 40 hours of community service Required to attend alcoholic awareness training, possibly with a parent or guardian
Not only is it illegal for minors to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess or consume alcohol, it is also a crime for a minor to falsely state that he or she is 21 or older or use a fake ID. The same penalties apply:
1st & 2nd Offenses: Class C Misdemeanor.
Fine of up to $500 Required to attend alcoholic awareness course Community service for 8 to 40 hours Suspension of driving license or permit for 30 to 180 days
3rd Offense for Minors 17 and older: Class B Misdemeanor
Fine of $250 to $2,000 Possible attendance with parent or guardian at an alcoholic awareness course Community service for 20 to 40 hours Suspension of driving license or permit for 180 days
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