Alcohol laws of Texas

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A person must be at least 15-17 years of age to publicly drink an alcoholic beverage in Texas, with some exceptions[1]

Texas is one of ten states (California, Colorado, Maryland, Montana, New York, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) that allow consumption by minors in the presence of consenting and supervising family members. In the state of Texas, parents accept responsibility for the safety of minors under 15 when the minor is on their property or property leased by them and under their care, custody, and control; an adult may provide alcohol to a minor if they are the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse, and are visibly present when the minor possesses or consumes the alcoholic beverage.[2] It is against the law to make alcohol available to a non-family person younger than 17, even on one's own property and even with permission from a parent of that person.[2]

Texas holds parents/adults civilly liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor younger than 17 if they knowingly provided alcohol or allowed alcohol to be served on property owned or leased by them if the minor:

  • is injured or dies as a result of drinking on the property,
  • gets into a fight, falls and hurts themself, or is sexually assaulted,
  • damages someone else's property, or
  • leaves the property and is involved in a motor vehicle accident causing injury to themselves or others.

An operator of a motor vehicle is considered automatically under the influence of alcohol if a chemical screening shows a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. If under the age of 17, a driver in Texas testing positive for any BAC may be subject to DUI charges.

Alcohol sales[edit]

Voter approval is required (at the appropriate county-wide, precinct-wide, or city-wide region) to approve such sales. Separate votes are required for 1) "on-premise" (sales at a restaurant or bar for consumption at that location) beer and wine sales, 2) "off-premise" (sales for consumption elsewhere, such as at home) beer and wine sales, 3) on-premise liquor sales, and 4) off-premise liquor sales.

Only four Texas counties are completely "dry" counties, where sales of alcoholic beverages are not legal anywhere in the county:[3]

  1. Borden
  2. Kent
  3. Roberts
  4. Throckmorton

Many counties are completely "wet" counties, where all alcoholic beverage sales are legal everywhere in the county:[3]

  1. Aransas
  2. Austin
  3. Bexar
  4. Brazos
  5. Brewster
  6. Brooks
  7. Burnet
  8. Cameron
  9. Childress
  10. Clay
  11. Collingsworth
  12. Colorado
  13. Comal
  14. Cottle
  15. Crosby
  16. Culberson
  17. Dimmit
  18. Donley
  19. Duval
  20. Ector
  21. El Paso
  22. Fayette
  23. Fisher
  24. Fort Bend
  25. Goliad
  26. Gonzales
  27. Guadalupe
  28. Hidalgo
  29. Hudspeth
  30. Jim Hogg
  31. Kendall
  32. Kenedy
  33. Kinney
  34. Kleberg
  35. La Salle
  36. Midland
  37. Mitchell
  38. Nolan
  39. Nueces
  40. Ochiltree
  41. Presidio
  42. San Saba
  43. Scurry
  44. Sherman
  45. Starr
  46. Sutton
  47. Val Verde
  48. Victoria
  49. Waller
  50. Washington
  51. Webb
  52. Wharton
  53. Wilbarger
  54. Zapata
  55. Zavala

The 195 other Texas counties are "moist" counties, which are a combination of wet and dry areas.[3]

Sales of alcohol[edit]

Beer and wine can be sold from 7:00 AM until midnight Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM until 1:00 AM on Saturday, and from 10 AM until midnight on Sunday. Licensed restaurants, bars, and other establishments additionally can serve for consumption on-premises starting at 10:00 AM on Sunday if served with food, and until 2:00 AM every night if the establishment has a late-hours permit in cities or counties that allow such sales.[4]

Alcohol sales are more stringently regulated. They are prohibited 1) on Sundays, 2) on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day (and when Christmas and New Year's Days are on a Sunday, the prohibition is carried over to the following Monday), and 3) before 10AM and after 9PM on any other day.[5] Furthermore, Alcohol/ liquor can only be sold in "package stores", which must be closed (even for sales of otherwise allowable products) whenever liquor sales are prohibited,[6] and which further must be physically separated from any other business.[7] Moreover, no owner can own more than 250 package stores,[8] and no publicly traded company can own such a store.[9]

Hotel bars can serve alcohol to registered guests at all hours.

Legitimate age[edit]

People must be at least 21 years of age to legally consume alcoholic beverages in Texas with certain exceptions, as in all other states. However, employment at a company serving alcoholic beverages can be entered into at age 18 provided they get certified by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.[10]

No specific training is required to serve alcohol; however, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code states that the actions (such as serving alcohol to a clearly intoxicated patron) of an employee will not be imputed to the employer if 1) the employer requires the employee to complete training approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, 2) the employee actually completes the training, and 3) the employer has not directly encouraged the employee to violate the law.[11]

Open container laws[edit]

All previously opened containers of alcoholic beverages must be stored and transported in a vehicle's trunk (or behind the last row of seats if a vehicle does not have a partitioned trunk) or other storage to which the driver and or any passengers do not have access.

Blood alcohol content limits[edit]

An operator of a motor vehicle is considered under the influence of alcohol if a chemical screening test shows a blood-alcohol-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. No other evidence (such as Field Sobriety tests) need be presented to the court to obtain a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction. A driver testing 0.15 percent or higher above the legal limit of 0.08 percent faces more severe penalties for enhanced BAC. When under the age of 21, a driver in Texas must not test positive for any BAC and may be charged with DUI even if the amount tested is under 0.08 percent.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "When Minor Drinking is Legal in Texas". KFOR TV. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Alcohol & Your Child" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Wet and Dry Counties". Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  4. ^ "FAQs TABC". Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 105.01" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 22.14(e)" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 22.14(a)" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 22.04" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 22.16" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.09" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.14(a)" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.

External links[edit]