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Updates and Changes to Texas Dram Shop Liability Laws

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Business Law

Staying updated with the ever-evolving legal landscape is crucial for any business, especially those in the hospitality industry. Recent updates to Texas’ dram shop liability laws involving to-go beverages have introduced new complexities that bar and restaurant owners need to understand. These laws hold establishments accountable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals who then cause harm or damage. With the potential for significant legal and financial consequences, it’s essential for business owners to stay informed and proactive.

An experienced attorney can be invaluable in helping your business navigate these updates. They can provide detailed insights into the latest changes, ensuring your establishment remains compliant with the law. At Fahl & Donaldson, our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients defend their businesses and safeguard against costly litigation. By partnering with us, you can better protect your establishment, mitigate risks, and focus on running your business smoothly.

Updates to Texas’ Dram Shop Liability Laws

During the pandemic, Texas changed its alcohol laws to help businesses stay afloat. In 2019, Texas allowed restaurants and bars to sell to-go alcoholic drinks with Senate Bill 1450

This means that businesses with both a Mixed Beverage Permit and a Food and Beverage Certificate to deliver alcohol. These businesses can deliver the alcohol themselves or use delivery services like DoorDash or Favor. The sale must happen during the business’s normal hours, and deliveries must be made to legal locations within the same area as the business. Additionally, House Bill 1024, effective May 12, 2021, allows for mixed drinks in tamper-proof containers.

Under these laws, alcohol deliveries must include food, even though there is no specific ratio of food to alcohol, and there’s also no limit on the amount of alcohol that can be delivered. The alcohol must also be in its original sealed container or in a tamper-proof container if mixed on-site, like a sealed margarita. 

If businesses fail to comply with these laws and the driver is later involved in a drunk driving incident, the establishment may be held accountable for their injuries and other losses. An experienced attorney can review your case to determine the best path forward to protect your business. 

Defenses For Dram Shop Liability in Texas

At Fahl & Donaldson, we specialize in helping businesses navigate the complexities of dram shop liability. Defending against these claims involves several key strategies:

  • No Visible Intoxication: We can help demonstrate that your establishment did not serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person by using evidence such as witness testimony and surveillance footage.
  • Lack of Causation: We work to prove that the patron’s intoxication was not the direct cause of the harm. If the injury or accident was due to other factors, your business might not be held liable.
  • Safe Harbor Defense: Texas law provides a “Safe Harbor” defense for establishments with certified training programs. We can help show that your business meets these requirements, proving that all employees are properly trained and that reasonable steps were taken to prevent serving intoxicated individuals.

Our attorneys understand that every accident is unique and will customize your defense strategy to your unique situation.

Partner With a First-Class Dram Shop Liability Defense Attorney at Fahl & Donaldson

Navigating the intricacies of dram shop liability can be daunting, particularly when your business’s future is at stake. At Fahl & Donaldson, we provide expert legal support to help you manage these challenges. Our team of seasoned attorneys is committed to defending your interests and ensuring you comply with Texas law. With years of experience and a proven track record of successful outcomes, we are here to protect your business.

For dedicated legal representation tailored to your needs, trust Fahl & Donaldson. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling (346) 241-7355 or completing our contact form.