Underage Drinking During The Holidays

By Sylvia Gonzalez

NewsWest 9

Odessa - During the holidays college students will be making their way back home for Christmas break, and for most minors that means holiday parties and holiday drinking.

Before you get tempted to knock back a few with your buddies you're being given a word of warning.

You're night of reliving those high school days could end in the back of a patrol car.

Emily Gomez a bartender at Manny's Bar says minors should be concerned with spending time with their families during the holidays and not trying to get some beer.

"We have to watch out with any kind of minors trying to come in here and drink, especially that we are across the street from the college as well," Gomez said.

Gomez has been a bartender for 12 years and says she has seen just about all the sneaky ways minors try and use to get a drink in their hands.

"Fake ID's and usually them hanging out with older people," Gomez said.

Captain Mark Menn with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says even though bands and huge "X's" on the hand are normally used to identify minors .they're not always effective. That's why not only door personnel are more vigilant but bartenders as well.

"So the people that are actually selling the alcohol are responsible for not selling the alcohol to the minor regardless of what deception the minor might be involved in," Menn said.

Menn says no matter what time of year it is they always crack down on people or businesses selling alcohol to minors.

"During Christmas time we don't have any specific focus initiative going on, but we are always investigating complaints that we get regarding any of our license premises that might be serving alcohol to minor selling it whether that's stores restaurants nightclubs whatever," Menn said.

If a minor is caught drinking the punishment could be handed down to several parties. Bartenders could be charged with a class a misdemeanor, the establishment could have their license revoked and, of course, the minor will also be in hot water.

"More than likely the minor will be cited for attempt to purchase alcohol violation to posses it or consume it," Menn said.

Gomez has one piece of advice for any teens looking to score some illegal beverages.

"With the holidays there's so much more law in Odessa as well so you never know who is who, if you are an underage drinker don't do it, during the holidays you are here to be with your family don't drink, don't drink period," Gomez said.