The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) regulates every aspect of the alcoholic beverage industry in the state, including licensure and enforcement. A major portion of TABC’s overall enforcement effort is conducting inspections of licensed retail locations.
Location Inspections by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
TABC inspections of licensed retail locations result in a substantial share of the alleged criminal and administrative violations cited by Commission enforcement agents and auditors.
The Commission has a duty to enforce the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, the TABC Administrative Rules, and to detect “serious violations that impact public safety.” Tex. Admin. Code §5.361(a)(1). Any business that holds a TABC license or permit is required to consent to location inspections. Tex. Alcoholic Beverage Code §101.04. Under the code, refusal to allow inspection is a Class A misdemeanor.
Priority inspections are conducted based on complaints made to the TABC and the risk to public safety. Enforcement agents conduct priority inspections at licensed locations when:
- There is an open complaint investigation involving the location and allegations of public safety violations;
- If there is a history of public safety violations occurring on its premises within the last six months; or
- The business has been licensed for less than two years, has not yet been subject to underage compliance or other undercover operation, and is either licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption or is the holder of a late hours permit and is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
Priority inspections may occur randomly and without prior notice.
Compliance Reporting by License and Permit Holders
Every license and permit holder must prepare and file an automated compliance report with the Commission. 16 Tex. Admin. Code §41.22(b). This rule is intended to reduce unnecessary physical inspections of industry locations, utilize automation for efficiency, and allow the Commission to better utilize resources. 16 Tex. Admin. Code §41.22(a).
Licensees must use the TABC: Compliance Reporting app to conduct and submit their annual compliance reports. The compliance reporting period is currently underway. It runs from September 1st to December 1st each year, giving businesses 90-days to complete their mandatory annual reports.
Defending Against Alleged TABC Violations
If you are being accused of violating the Alcoholic Beverage Code or a TABC rule, we urge you to consult with an experienced license defense attorney immediately. Your business may be at risk of having its alcohol license revoked or suspended.
The attorneys at BERTOLINO LLP know how to build a compelling case to protect your alcohol license – and your livelihood. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.