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BYOB Establishments & Houston DWI

Texas tightly regulates establishments that sell alcohol. But many bars and restaurants in Houston operate as bring your own bottle, or BYOB. This allows people to come with their own alcohol and stay very late into the night, drinking the hours away. Patrons can then get into an accident when they leave an after-hours bar while intoxicated.

The Houston City Council has recently taken a fresh look at fighting BYOB establishments and has passed a new ordinance to improve public safety. According to the Houston Chronicle, the trigger for this heightened scrutiny was a rash of late-night shootings in Houston. But the new regulations could also reduce the number of DWI accidents in the city and surrounding areas.

How BYOB Establishments Operate

An establishment needs a permit in Texas to sell alcohol. But some establishments over the decades have gotten around this requirement by telling the public to bring their own bottles. In effect, they welcome their customers to bring the alcohol into the premises. Think of a restaurant that doesn’t want to sell alcohol but encourages customers to have some wine with their spaghetti.

Other establishments have a license to sell but are also BYOB. These are usually after-hours bars, which must stop serving at a specified time, often 2:00 am. However, as a BYOB establishment, they stay open until the early morning—and customers can bring their own beer and consume it on the premises.

Houston’s New Ordinance

The new city ordinance requires that BYOB clubs and bars obtain a permit to operate legally. These establishments must also follow new safety rules, such as providing a security guard, security cameras, and a wand or metal detector. They also need to undergo an inspection and pay for it. This enhanced security would reduce the risk of gun violence in the clubs by alerting guards to someone trying to bring a firearm inside. A security guard could also see if an intoxicated person is leaving and about to drive home.

The ordinance also makes it illegal to consume alcohol after 2:15 a.m., not simply serve. Many DWI accidents in Houston happen in the early morning hours. If someone stops drinking at midnight, they will be more sober by 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. when they try to drive home.

Unfortunately, there’s no proof that establishments in Houston are applying for the permit, nor any evidence that the city is citing them for lacking security. Houston PD claims that they are strapped, resource-wise, and must focus on other crimes. Indeed, the Houston Chronicle uncovered that HPD is responding at the slowest rate in over 20 years to high priority calls.

Picked Up for a DWI? Call Tad Nelson

Our law firm has handled more than a hundred DWI cases in Houston and surrounding cities. When you hire us, you are getting one of the most skilled DWI teams in the state, with decades of combined experience. To speak with a lawyer about your arrest, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.