Texas has government agencies in place to protect all of its constituents. At a time when people aren’t spending a lot of money, bars and restaurants need safety nets. However, what happens when an established business allows a customer to harm others or themselves? This leads to possible legal action or loss of business.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is just one of these agencies designed to police alcohol licensees. The TABC has enacted the Safe Harbor policy to protect places that sell liquor. The policy covers the business owner whose establishment has sold alcoholic beverages to minors or intoxicated individuals, provided some basic criteria is met. These are as follows:
- The person selling is not the owner of the business
- The person selling has a current seller-server certificate
- This certificate must be obtained within 30 days of hiring
- The owner/employer has guidelines in place for employees
- The employer does not encourage overselling
- There are not 3 or more of these instances in the past year
A bar called the Flying Saucer Draft Emporium in San Antonio has come under fire recently for overselling on separate occasions. Marine Staff Sgt. Marcos Serda was drinking at the Flying Saucer. He was later found to have a BAC of .13, which is almost twice the legal limit, four hours after the accident. Marcos had been driving when a crash claimed the life of Lisa Harter.
Ten months later, Chris Baldaramos had also been drinking at the Flying Saucer prior to crashing into San Antonio Police Officer Stephanie Brown. The crash killed both Baldaramos and Brown on Interstate 35. This brings the safe harbor law into discussion because it allows businesses to continue to operate, but also is in place to give businesses the initiative to stay vigilant of intoxicated patrons. While the TABC has written reports about the Flying Saucer Draft Emporium, it has failed to levy any punishment against them.