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Happy Hour Laws

Alcohol Laws for Minors

Approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)



One of the biggest concerns for any server or bartender is the potential to sell or serve to an underage patron. With today's technology, it has become very easy to obtain a fake ID that looks startlingly like the real thing. And while bartenders do their best, it can sometimes be tough to remain as vigilant as necessary during a busy night of service… and those underage customers can fall through the cracks without being caught.

The state of Illinois has harsh penalties in place for both the establishment selling/serving to a minor, and the minors themselves who are attempting to purchase and consume alcohol. The law states that no one may sell or serve alcohol to any customer under the legal drinking age of 21 years. Similarly, people who are of the legal drinking age may not even host a gathering for minors where liquor or alcohol is provided. If the rules are broken, you could be facing a huge monetary fine… or possibly even jail time.

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Penalties for Serving to Minors

The phrase "serving to minors" covers a lot of different scenarios. This includes selling alcohol from a store, serving alcohol to a minor at a restaurant or bar, hosting a party where minors are being allowed to drink, or even purchasing a hotel/motel room for teens to gather and consume alcohol there. Any of these scenarios could cost you the following penalties:

  • Selling/serving alcohol to a minor = a charge of a Class A misdemeanor and a fine of no less than $500
  • Knowingly hosting a gathering at a residence where minors are consuming alcohol or leave the premises intoxicated = a charge of a Class A misdemeanor
  • Renting a hotel/motel room for the purpose of underage drinking = a charge of a Class A misdemeanor, a fine of $2500, and 1 year in jail
  • Providing alcohol for minors in which a fatality occurs = a charge of a Class 4 felony

Consequences to Underage Customers

Any person under the age of 21 who is found with an open container of alcohol can be charged and found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, and could lose their driver's license and/or be sentenced to an alcohol awareness program. Minors who are found in possession of a closed container of alcohol of any kind can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor (with the exception of religious services or under parental supervision while in the family's home).

Underage drinking is incredibly dangerous, especially when there's the potential for that child to get behind the wheel. Many teens don't realize the true effects that alcohol will have on their minds and bodies, and can easily over-consume, putting their lives in grave danger. This is why both the minor AND the provider of the alcohol face serious consequences, should either be caught breaking the law.

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Prevention Techniques

The best way for servers and bartenders to avoid facing criminal charges is to take the BASSET alcohol training course. This course provides employees with a thorough and detailed education on how to identify underage customers and how to spot fake IDs whenever they may come across one. It's crucial that the employee be able to determine when a minor is attempting to sneak by—failure to do so could cost them their jobs, and could even result in the establishment losing its liquor license. That's why, though not mandatory, many seller/server establishments will require this training before an employee ever serves alcohol on the job.