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Tennessee’s new “drinks-to-go” law is creating problems for law enforcement

On Behalf of | May 3, 2021 | dui

During 2020, the governor of Tennessee took action to alleviate some of the stress on restaurants and bars in the area by allowing them to serve alcohol with carry-out orders. The initiative was such a success that state lawmakers decided to keep the plan in place for another two years.

Unfortunately, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Mothers Against Driving Tennessee allege the system is rife with abuses.

How bars and restaurants are failing to comply with the law

The rules say that alcohol to-go has to be ordered along with food, and only one drink is allowed per purchase. And, naturally, bars and restaurants still can’t sell to anybody under 21 years of age.

When checked, however, about 63% of bars and restaurants failed to check IDs before making a sale. That’s putting a lot of potentially underage drinkers out there on the roads.

How carry-out drinks can lead to other problems

People who buy carry-out alcoholic drinks are also expected to comply with the general rules regarding drinking and driving. Those drinks are supposed to stay closed until the driver gets home.

However, just like drivers often fall to temptation when they’ve got a bag full of tasty food in the car and they’re hungry, there’s really nothing stopping someone from indulging in a sip or two of their drink while they’re on the road.

You can absolutely bet that there’s increased scrutiny by the police these days around bars or restaurants that permit to-go alcoholic drink sales. Drivers would do well to remember that they put their licenses (and futures) in peril if they break the rules. Make sure the person picking up the drinks is over 21 years of age — and leave the drinks under seal until later.

If you do make a mistake and end up charged with drunk driving or a related crime, protect your rights by speaking with an attorney before you speak with the police.