DWI suspects won't be the only ones charged if they're over-served at HLSR

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With tens of thousands of attendees and volunteers converging on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo the next three weeks, Harris County prosecutors have a fair warning to please don't drink and drive, and don't over-serve.

"We're trying to stop the carnage in the roadways," said Assistant District Attorney Seane Teare, head of the vehicular crimes division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The numbers are sobering, Houston Police says in 2019 they arrested more than 8,600 people for drunk driving. During the 2019 rodeo season alone, officers made around 535 DWI arrests.

This year, prosecutors are also putting volunteer bartenders on notice, reminding people that anyone serving alcohol will be subject to the same rules as full time bartenders. If you over-serve someone who then causes a tragic car crash, you could be facing charges.

"We just want everyone to be aware of, you have accepted this responsibility to serve alcohol," said Teare. "If you do so irresponsibly, you can face the exact same charges as the people who get tips and work at restaurants."

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The rodeo says it's already prepared, saying in a statement:

"The safety of our Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo guests is always our highest priority.

More than 1,000 law enforcement officers are employed during the Rodeo from multiple departments including the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff's Office and METRO Police Department. All of whom can enforce any and all laws, including public intoxication laws on our grounds.

We work closely with law enforcement year-round to incorporate additional measures to ensure the safety of our guests.

All of our bartenders and volunteers who are in Hospitality Services are TABC certified. The Rodeo works closely with TABC to ensure all servers receive training and are prepared to identify and prevent sales of alcoholic beverages to intoxicated individuals.

We do not promote over consumption of alcohol and encourage our guests to utilize ride-share and public transportation options."


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