With the holiday season approaching, families and friends will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate and get together. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in Lubbock is reminding people to be safe when alcohol is involved, especially if there are minors present.
Brian Williams, a Lieutenant with TABC, says they get involved anytime alcohol could have played a role in accident, when the substance is possessed by minors, or when someone is over-served. If any of those things happen, it's their job to figure our where the alcohol came from and how it was sold, served, or distributed.
Williams says even at a holiday party, if someone has had too much, either make sure they have a sober ride, or let them stay.
"If they're intoxicated at all don't let them go. Perfect case is the recent example of a young man getting killed in the middle of the road, he wasn't driving he was walking. If somebody had kept him at the party it may have been a different story today," Williams said.
He's referring to Connor Mercer, a 17-year-old Frenship High School student who police say was hit by a car after leaving a party on October 30th. Toxicology results released Tuesday revealed that Mercer's blood alcohol level was .231, nearly three times the legal limit for an adult.
As friends and family mourn the tragic loss of their loved one, TABC hopes they have to do fewer investigations like the one they're doing into Mercer's death.
"We try to trace the source of that alcohol to whoever provided it to those minors and they could face possible making available charges," Williams said.
With kids out of school and parents off work, the holidays are often a time for friends and family members to get together. The TABC says to be careful when alcohol is involved.
"If you're having a house party and it's for your child and some of their friends- the only person allowed there to drink if you let them is your child," Williams continued. "Even if the other kids are over there spending the night or whatever, because you're not their legal parent or adult guardian you could still be charged with making available to a minor."
For teenagers with parents out of town, an empty house can be a temptation. Williams warns that using fake identification to buy alcohol, trying to persuade an older person to purchase alcohol, or serving underage friends alcoholic drinks at your house can get you in a lot of trouble.
"For making available you're looking at possibly up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. It's also possible that you could lose your license for 180 days," he said.
Parents considering leaving teenagers at home are encouraged to lock their liquor cabinet, because they can be held responsible for what happens.
"If it's one of these where Mom and Dad are out of town, kids have a party and get in the liquor cabinet and raid that; we're not looking on filing [charges] on Mom and Dad for making it available to all the other kids, because that's something they couldn't control- they're out of town. But its something their kids could be charged with," Williams said.
You can also be responsible for what happens after someone who has been over served leaves your party.
"Just because you stop drinking five minutes before you leave the party doesn't mean that 15 or 20 minutes down the road it's still not going to be in your system," Williams said.
The TABC and local law enforcement urge people of all ages to make smart decisions at parties this holiday season.