Back-to-school sting could result in penalties, fines
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will conduct its annual back-to-school undercover operations during the month of September as tens of thousands of college and university students return to class across the state.
The undercover operations, known as minor alcohol stings, will take place at thousands of retail locations across Texas. During the operation, undercover TABC agents escort an under-aged person into an alcohol retail location, where the minor will attempt to purchase alcohol. If the sale is successful, the business and its employees could face administrative and possible criminal charges, respectively.
The stings will be conducted at retailers in cities where major colleges and universities are located. Retailers such as bars, restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores will be included in the operations.
“The back-to-school period can be a very busy time, both for students and alcohol retailers,” said Chief Robert Saenz, TABC director of Field Operations. “As in the past, we encourage retailers to take a little extra time to help their employees learn the best practices necessary to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. Our retailers are the first line of defense against preventable tragedies such as alcohol-related vehicle accidents, injuries and loss of life.”
TABC agents in March 2016 visited 1,488 TABC-licensed businesses during a similar statewide operation timed to coincide with Spring Break. During that operation, more than 92 percent of businesses were found to be in full compliance with the law.
Businesses found selling alcohol to minors could face TABC administrative action, such as a civil penalty or a suspension of their alcohol license or permit. Additionally, selling alcohol to a person under 21 is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.