Texas Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Laws governing alcohol sales are strictly governed by local ordinances. Some generalizations follow.
Alcohol is purchased in private retail stores from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., although beer and wine may be available at grocery stores and convenience marts. Liquor stores are closed on Sundays, and restaurants may only sell alcohol in conjunction with food between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays. Bars and restaurants serve alcohol Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., in general.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to consume alcohol in Texas, as in all other states, but any employment that requires selling or handling alcohol can be entered into at age 18.
Open Container Laws
All previously opened containers of alcohol must be transported in a vehicle’s trunk where the driver and passengers do not have access.
A driver is considered irresponsibly under the influence and ‘per se intoxicated’ if a chemical screening indicates a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more. This means the courts need no further evidence than this in order to secure a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction.
A driver testing .15 percent or more over the legal limit of .08 percent faces harsher penalties for enhanced BAC.
Under the age of 21, a driver in Texas cannot test positive for any blood-alcohol content (BAC) under penalty of DUI charges.
Laws requiring drivers suspected of driving under the influence to concede to breath, blood, or urine testing for alcohol content are known as ‘implied consent laws.’ A person agrees to abide by these laws when signing for a driver’s license. Refusing to comply with chemical testing for intoxication can incur a penalty of mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can revoke a driver’s license for 90 days for the first DUI conviction and 180 days for the second and third convictions.
The penalty of vehicle confiscation for DUI conviction – either permanently or temporarily – is a possibility in Texas with the third offense.
An ignition interlock device can be installed in a convicted DUI offender’s vehicle in limited circumstances in Texas.
Education, treatment, or assessment for alcohol abuse cannot be required for DUI offenders.
DUI is considered a felony after the second conviction if the driver has a prior manslaughter conviction involving alcohol; otherwise the third conviction is considered a felony.