Monday, August 25, 2008

Texas Agency to Crackdown on Collegiate Bootleggers

When you hear the word "bootlegging," you probably think of some Great Gatsby-era speakeasy at which revelers downed whiskey until that dreaded knock on the door from law enforcement. However, you don't need to be a flapper or an expert at dancing the Charleston to be considered a bootlegger in Texas. And, if the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has its way, that unexpected reality is going to be discovered by college students across the state this fall.

According to state law, bootlegging occurs whenever someone charges admission to a private, unsanctioned party at which alcohol is being served. This practice is considered equivalent to operating a club illegally, and the consequences are serious. So, a word of caution to all of my college-aged readers ... that $5.00 cup fee you are charging at this weekend's keg party may become more than a means to make up the costs of the festivities. You may be hosting your way to a criminal record, as well as $2000 fine and six months in jail. Take the time to get a temporary permit to sell alcohol and your legal worries can be eased.

This little-known bootlegging law has not often been enforced in recent decades, and therefore came as a surprise to those already arrested in the recent crackdown. However, perhaps due to the element of surprise, the TABC has decided this new approach is worth a try. The hope is that the arrests will minimize the noise and underage drinking at the annual parties that surround the return to college campuses every fall.

At Bertolino LLP, while we certainly do not support underage drinking or any crime that flourished during Prohibition, we have attorneys in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio who can help you if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Contact our offices and speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys today.

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