Opinion: ABC raids are upheld by the law, private event or not

Back to Article
Back to Article

Opinion: ABC raids are upheld by the law, private event or not

Olivia Davis | @oliviadavis0, Staff Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The beginning of the school year always brings great business for Tuscaloosa as thousands of students return and begin to swarm downtown establishments. To no surprise, some of the most popular places for returning students are the Tuscaloosa bars. As the bar scene quickly returns to its school-time occupancy and new students begin to partake in the drinking culture of college, a familiar face shows up in town: none other than the Alabama Beverage Control. 

The Alabama Beverage Control, more commonly known as ABC, states that their mission is “to protect and support the public’s health, safety, and welfare by regulating the distribution, import, manufacture, and sale of alcoholic beverages demonstrated by professionalism, integrity, education, and transparency.” In other words, they check to see if businesses distributing alcohol are following the law. Efforts to ensure this can include raids on establishments based on tips received, undercover officers working in these establishments and an enforcement of strict ID regulation to limit fake ID usage. Specifically dealing with ABC raids, there is one interesting argument that always seems to come up throughout the school year – that private events should not be subject to these raids. It makes sense to an extent, as people say that a private organization paying to host an event should not be subject to the regulations of public spaces; however, that logic is faulty on multiple levels. Paying to use a facility does not put a person or group of people above the law. If anything, it subjects them to more restrictions, as they are both upheld to laws pertaining to the public in addition to the regulations of the establishment. ABC does not care what event is being held inside of a bar. Criminal conduct is criminal conduct, and if found, there will be consequences.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrative Code makes it extremely clear that both patrons and the licensee of the establishment are equally subjected to regulations. The code states that by having a license to serve alcohol, it invites the ABC Board to enter and inspect the establishment at any time, without a warrant, whether there is a private event held there at the time or not. Furthermore, if criminal conduct is found, the licensee is subject to disciplinary action, and the license is in jeopardy of termination. ABC targets the establishment in hopes that the risk of losing a license will curb illegal activity, and it’s a smart tactic. Bars are a business, and ABC knows that a license is imperative to make money. Maintaining a license in good standing with ABC will always take priority. 

Tuscaloosa has caught heat in the past for being particularly lax when it comes to underage drinking, and ABC is looking to put an end to that. This crackdown on underage drinking holds establishments to the same level of responsibility as it does to people within it. It does not matter what event is being held in a bar. If underage drinking and other criminal conduct is found, not only are those individuals subject to arrest, but the establishment will also receive disciplinary action. It is quite foolish to think that private events are not subject to the laws of these establishments. The law is designed to be upheld in every circumstance, so it is vital that students are aware of the consequences of engaging in illegal activity when it comes to drinking. ABC has the right to enter the premises of a license-holding establishment at any time. It is crucial to know the regulations, or students may risk spending a night in jail due to ignorance.