Hundreds of Lubbock college students are facing fines for underage drinking or providing alcohol to minors. Both the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and Lubbock Police are stepping up what's called a "party patrol".
This past holiday weekend was especially busy for both agencies and has been since just before the school year started. With Texas Tech's first home football game this weekend, authorities warn college students they'll be watching.
"When school is back in session, we get a whole new crop of minors who come in, and they're not accustomed to being away from home and having the freedom they now have," Sgt. Michael Lockhart said.
That new freedom can be very costly.
"I know with all of the nursing programs. They won't let someone in if they've had a minor in possession," Lockhart said.
Lubbock Police and the TABC handed out over 148 violations and 19 kegs were collected. The average age of the person drinking out of the kegs was only19.
"They're looking at a fine of up to $500. They're looking at at least 8 hours of community service. They're looking at losing their drivers license for up to 60 days, and they're looking at an alcohol awareness course," Lockhart said.
But it's not just the kids who are drinking it who are in trouble. It's also those providing the alcohol,and that penalty is a stiff one.
"The person who's providing it is looking at a Class A misdemeanor. That's punishable up to a year in jail, a $4000 fine or both," Lockhart said.
Due to the increase in underage drinkers, there's also an increase in the number of police patrolling. They're not only spending time with minors but also educating the alcoholic beverage industry on who they should be selling to.
"We are expecting another big weekend, and we are addressing the areas like around the strip. We'll be out there looking for the people who are buying a bunch of kegs, checking their ages and checking where they're going with it," Lockhart added.
The party patrol doesn't have a specific target area. They really do patrol all across Lubbock and the strip, of course. They also warn they'll be patrolling Jones AT&T Stadium heavily this weekend for tailgating and any after-parties.
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