The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found that more bars and restaurants in Texas are not complying with the state law, according to the agency’s annual back-to-school undercover operation results released on Monday.
TABC undercover agents, along with an underage volunteer, visited 1,337 establishments for one week starting September 13th. The agency found that 128 of the 1,337 establishments sold alcohol to minors.
“Overall we are at about a 90% compliance rate,” TABC spokesperson Chris Porter said. “This time last year we saw a 92% compliance rate, so we’ve gone down slightly.”
Porter attributes the increase of violations to the wider range of businesses on this year’s hit list. In addition to targeting convenient stores and liquor stores, the TABC agents also visited “on premise locations” like bars and restaurants, where people can drink alcohol inside the establishment.
“We’re hoping this will show them that the simplest step to take is to actually ask for someone’s ID,” Porter said, “and thus they can prevent fines or suspensions of the liquor permit.”
Selling alcohol to a minor is a class A misdemeanor. Violators can face a fine of up to $4,000, a year in jail, or both. Depending on the severity of the violation, businesses cited for selling alcohol to a minor could also face suspension of their license or even be forced to shut down.
“Any case where we see that someone might have been in violation of the law, we’ll do our best to work with that location and get them back up to voluntary compliance before we take the more serious actions such as shutting down a business,” Porter said.
For detailed results of the undercover operation, click here.