Texas Liquor Laws And Regulations

Texas Liquor Laws And Regulations

Some of the drinking laws in the state of Texas are relatively straightforward. You have to be 21-year-olds to legally drink there, which is the age requirement for the drinking establishments too.

The liquor laws and regulations apply both to residents of the state and those that visit Texas too.

Much of the complexity in Texas is due to how the alcohol laws will vary across the state and between counties so it does help to be aware of them.

In this guide, we will detail Texas’ liquor laws and regulations.

General Liquor Laws And Regulations

There are general liquor laws and regulations that apply in Texas, including those that apply to Sundays.

That’s right, you can get served alcohol in Texas in a restaurant but it must be prior to noon should it be paired with a meal on the final day of the week.

It is also illegal to sell any alcoholic beverage that has over 17% ABV anywhere on a Sunday.

Also, food trucks cannot sell alcohol and a restaurant or retailer cannot sell alcohol should it only come from a single producer.

No venue in the state can sell alcohol on either Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day. Those businesses that are licensed to sell beer and wine can do so but only from 7am to midnight from Monday through to Friday.

On Saturday, those hours of sale are extended, from 7am to 1am, though on Sunday they revert to the later time of noon to midnight.

The Complexity Of Texas’ Liquor Laws And Regulations

Brace yourself when you cross county lines in Texas as the liquor laws and regulations will change. For instance, in a number of counties it will be legal for grocery stores to sell beer but they cannot sell wine.

In other counties, you can buy a beer in the grocery store but not enjoy one with your meal at a restaurant.

Those county lines even split towns so in one part you can buy alcohol as it is legal to do so in that part of the town but not in another part as that belongs to another county.

Some of the alcoholic beverage laws in the state, largely concerning the dry counties, create a downright confusing situation.

For instance, some counties only allow beer up to an ABV of 4% to be legal whereas in others it will range up to 14% ABV.

If you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with others, that can get confusing too depending on whether it is a ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ area.

Even in a few ‘wet’ areas, you will require a club membership for liquor by-the-drink and in some ‘dry’ areas, you will certainly need to pay to join a private club to get a mixed drink.

Buying Alcohol In Texas

As in the rest of the US, it is illegal for anyone who is under the age of 21 to purchase, or attempt to purchase, alcohol.

Age-related offenses also count to those under the age of 21 who are found to be in possession of alcohol, found to be drinking it, or using a fake ID to buy it.

Also, it is illegal for anyone to buy an alcoholic beverage for an individual who is under the age of 21.

There is a loophole to that rule as an older spouse can buy alcohol for a spouse who is under the age of 21, assuming that they have guardianship of that younger spouse.

Driving And Drinking Alcohol In Texas

You may be aware that under-21s cannot drink any alcohol so if they are in trouble when caught driving with any detected blood alcohol concentration.

The alcohol laws in Texas prohibit driving for commercial drivers at a BAC of 0.04%. Regular drivers have a BAC limit of 0.08%.

You can also count having an open container of alcohol in the passenger part of a vehicle as a violation. That could be while the vehicle is traveling on a public highway or stationary.

Those open containers can still be legally kept in the truck which only adds to the complexity of this rule.

If you are caught with an open container violation, you could face a fine of up to $500. The open container violation combined with a driving while intoxicated conviction can mean at least six days behind bars.

In general, driving while intoxicated offenses, and their penalties, largely depend on the individual circumstances of the incident and the judge presiding over the case.

Licensing Requirements And Distillery Restrictions In Texas

With a Distiller’s and Rectifier’s permit, you can manufacture hard liquor, also known as distilled spirits, using the distillation process.

These spirits can be bought and then sold between distilleries then bottled, labelled, and packaged to be sold in-state or with an out-of-state wholesaler.

Distilleries with this permit can provide tours yet they can only serve drinks or give away samples of their distilled spirits if they were made at that facility.

A limited number of bottles up to 3,500 gallons can be sold annually, but none of them on Sundays.

To buy a liquor license for a temporary auction permit, that can cost around $25. That goes all the way to $17,451 for an individual who has over five business locations to get a manufacturer’s license.

On average, a beer license in Texas costs around $2,081 with that cost going up to $2,283 for any further type of alcohol.

Final Thoughts

The liquor laws and regulations in the state of Texas may need some research in case you get into trouble. That could be for trying to buy, or be served, an alcoholic beverage at a certain time on a Sunday.

It could be for having an open container of alcohol in any area of the car that is not the trunk. The penalties do range from fines, prison convictions, community service, or the required attendance of an alcohol education program so do obey them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is The Worst place In Texas To Be Caught Bootlegging?

If you do get caught bootlegging, the worst place to do so in Texas is the dry town of Tyler. Prime facie evidence of bootlegging can be as little as over 24 cans of 12 oz beer or more than a quart of spirits.

Police in the state report that alcohol of that quantity proves an intent to sell alcohol illegally with no further evidence required to convict so you would be arrested.

If you want to avoid a $2,000 fine, a criminal record, and six months in jail do not stock up on alcohol, even for a visit to a wet county or for a party.

What Is Known As The Zero Tolerance Law For Individuals Under The Age Of 21 In Texas?

Texas operates under the Zero Tolerance Law which means that it is illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol or drugs in their systems.

For a first conviction, an individual can expect their driver’s license to be suspended for up to a year with a $500 fine. There is also the requirement to attend an alcohol education program with community service being a possibility.

There could also be an ignition interlock device which would prevent the engine from starting in a vehicle should alcohol be detected on the driver’s breath.

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