General Questions about the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

What do agents that work for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) do?

TABC agents are peace officers under commission. They enforce Alcoholic Beverage Code provisions and these provisions regulate phases of importing, exporting, manufacturing, selling, storing, transporting, distributing, labeling, state taxation, and possession of alcohol with respect to selling it or otherwise.

What are the qualification for a retail permit or license?

An individual must be at least 21 years of age, have good moral character, be law abiding, and reside legally in the United States.

Can a permit or license be transferred to or used by another person?

Should a business ownership change hands, the new owner has to apply for a separate permit or license, and no transfer can take place.

Can a permit or license be moved over to a new location?

This can occur, but must be approved by the TABC upon the submission of an application which requests the alteration. Licenses to sell beer can be transferred only to a location within the same county from where it was originally issued. Permits to sell liquor can be transferred to a different location within Texas.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Can the TABC suspend or cancel a permit or license once issued?

If the Alcoholic Beverage Code is violated and a hearing in front of the State Office of Administrative Hearings has been undertaken, suspension or cancellation can occur.

How long will it take to gain a permit to sell alcoholic beverages?

Normally 45-60 days. The time frame does vary depending on the type of license and the certification that is required by the local authorities.

You should get in touch with your local TABC office for licensing process assistance.

Does a vendor of alcohol need to be a certain distance from a school, public hospital or church?

There is local ordinance that prohibits alcoholic beverage sales within 300 feet of either a public or private school, a public hospital, and/ or a church. Under some circumstances the distance from a school may be increased to 1,000 feet.

Counties and cities may also adopt (though are not required to adopt) ordinances that require a distance of 300 feet between various types of permits and childcare facilities or daycare centers.

If an individual must pay for a criminal citation or a fine, where are these funds allocated to?

There is no financial benefit to TABC which is a result of a criminal citation. Essentially, a citation is the same as a speeding ticket. The citation will be dealt with by a JP or municipal court, and local officials then collect fines. A small portion of this is under the remittance of the State of Texas.

What signage is required to be posted at off-premises establishments like grocery and convenience stores? What signage must be used for on-premises establishments like restaurants and bars?

It is advisable to visit the TABC’s Sign Requirements webpage to assess these requirements.

Is an establishment able to provide free alcoholic beverage to consumers without a requirement for a permit?

It’s perfectly legal to provide alcohol that is free of charge without needing a permit. Nevertheless, for the beverage to be “free” it should be available to any adult who makes a request for it. In this case, if an establishment does provide alcoholic beverages, no money must be received for doing so. Donations and tips cannot be asked for. Further, if the alcohol is available to guests that have paid for an alternative service, but do not pay for the alcohol, a permit is still required.

When a TABC agent does not have a warrant, what can be searched?

A peace officer is at liberty to conduct an inspection of any premises that are covered by a permit or license and at any time without the requirement for a search warrant.

Premises will include grounds as well as related buildings, appurtenances, vehicles, and adjacent premises that are controlled by the licensee or permit holder.

In some cases, certain aspects to premises can be diagramed outside the licensed premises, in which case, they cannot be subjected to an unwarranted search. For this to occur, a copy of an approved TABC diagram must be posted publicly along with the permit or license. If residential premises have not been diagramed off, the officer is suggested to obtain voluntary consent to conduct a search or to secure a search warrant prior to making the search.

If you see further guidance with respect to alcohol laws in Texas, get in touch with a TABC lawyer.

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