By Ned Minevitz
Section 106.115(a) of the Alcoholic Beverage Code provides that minors convicted of or granted deferred disposition for public intoxication, purchasing alcohol, attempting to purchase alcohol, consuming alcohol, driving under the influence, alcohol possession, and age misrepresentation must complete either an alcohol awareness program, drug education program, or drug and alcohol driving awareness program (DADAP). For orders entered on or after June 1, 2023, however, DADAP will no longer be one of the options.
DADAP has traditionally been an attractive choice because it is offered online, which makes it accessible to most defendants no matter where they reside. With DADAP’s repeal only a few weeks away, municipal courts have begun inquiring whether the alcohol awareness program and/or the drug awareness program may be completed online.
Section 106.115(a) provides that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) approves alcohol awareness programs. Even though Section 106.115(a) further provides that the Department of State Health Services approves the drug awareness program, 16 Texas Administrative Code Section 90.1 transfers this authority to TDLR. Therefore, starting June 1, TDLR will be responsible for approving any course available under Section 106.115(a). TDLR’s website provides searchable lists for approved alcohol awareness and drug awareness courses:
But can these courses be completed online? Section 171.0055 of the Government Code provides that TDLR-approved court-ordered programs—including those ordered under Section 106.115(a)—may be in-person or virtual. Section 171.0055 was created in 2021 by the same Legislature that repealed DADAP.
TMCEC randomly accessed a few of the course links on each list above and found that many courses offered have a virtual/online option, typically using Zoom. Thus, even though DADAP will no longer be an option on June 1, minor defendants convicted of or granted deferred disposition for alcohol offenses will continue to have online options to complete any required course ordered under Section 106.115(a).