Odessa Adopts New Ordinance for Underage Drinking to Counter Texas Loopholes
In Texas, the legal age to drink is 21 years old or older. We all know that. But there are some loopholes in the law.
Namely, a parent can serve alcohol to their child or children as long as they are in their presence at all times. If that parent visits an establishment that serves alcohol, it is legal for the parent to buy an alcoholic beverage for their minor.
In Texas, a person may provide alcohol to a minor if he/she is the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse, and is visibly present when the minor possesses or consumes the alcoholic beverage. [TABC Texas]
HOWEVER, I capitalized that because it is up to that establishment to determine if it is allowed or not. So yes, an establishment that serves alcohol can refuse to serve your minor child even if you are present. Always ask before making the purchase.
Texas laws state when a parent serves their minor child, they assume many responsibilities including:
- If the minor is injured or dies.
- Gets into a fight, falls and hurts themselves or is sexually assaulted.
- Damage to another person's property.
- If the minor leaves and is involved in a car accident, causing injury to themselves or another person.
It also states that even with another parent's permission, you cannot serve alcohol to that parent's minor.
This is over simplified, of course, but I think you get the gist.
In Odessa, Texas, the city has passed a new ordinance that tightens this loophole. It is called the "Social Host Accountability Ordinance" according CBS 7 in Odessa. Instead of having to be caught actually serving a minor alcohol other than your child, authorities can make an arrest if that minor is just in your home if you are serving alcohol to your minor child.
I am TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) certified, which means I have completed a TABC course where I can serve alcohol at a bar or recognize when someone has had too many. And I'll be honest, while taking my certification and learning the various laws, Texas drinking laws can be a bit confusing.
But, I'm also about going out or gathering at a friend's house and having a good time. Just be smart about your partying. And especially DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.