Texas authorities have charged four people for their part in serving alcohol to a 20-year-old who killed a mother and her infant after drinking at a bar, according to ABC 13 Eyewitness News. It is illegal in Texas to provide alcohol to anyone under age 21. The bartender, as well as the owner, his son and another patron who bought drinks for the woman, have been charged with selling and serving alcohol, or purchasing and providing alcohol, to minors. They all now face fines of several thousand dollars and jail time as well.
If you are a parent who believes children are safer drinking at home than elsewhere, you should know that you still run the risk and responsibility for underage drinkers who harm themselves or others. Texas laws that allow parents to serve their underage children alcohol in their presence also make it clear that those parents share the responsibility for any resulting issues, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Parents who serve or allow alcohol to be served to minors on their property are civilly liable for any damages caused by an intoxicated minor, as well as any harm to others or themselves. This includes:
- Damage to another person’s property.
- The injury or death of the underage drinker.
- If the minor assaults someone else, injures themselves or is sexually assaulted.
- The minor leaves the property and is involved in an accident that injures another or themselves.
And while you can serve your own child alcohol in your presence, you cannot serve alcohol to their friends or anyone else under 21. Those who break this law face a fine of up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail, as well as an automatic suspension of their driver’s license for 180 days.
It may be natural for some parents to serve alcohol to their older children, especially at holiday dinners or special occasions. If you are one of them, it is up to you to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others they may come in contact with, afterward.