Liquor License Violations

In New York the alcoholic beverage industry is regulated at three levels of government (local, state and federal). At each level, law enforcement officials monitor businesses for compliance under an assortment of laws, regulations and ordinances. If a business violates these laws, it could face penalties ranging from a fine to the revocation of its liquor license.

New York State Liquor License Violations – State Liquor Authority

As a restaurant, bar, tavern or nightclub owner, there may come a time when you are faced with a violation issued by the State Liquor Authority. The most common liquor license violations include: (a) sale of alcohol to a minor, (b) sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person, (c) maintaining a disorderly premises, (d) sale of alcohol during prohibited hours, (e) gambling, and (f) illegal employment of a minor.

Penalties for Violating the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws

A violation of the Alcoholic and Beverage Control Law often results in the initiation of a disciplinary proceeding commenced by the State Liquor Authority.  When that happens, the State Liquor Authority begins the process by serving the accused with a "Notice of Pleading" which summarily outlines the charges.  At this point, a licensee has three options:

1.  Enter a plea of No Contest, admit to the facts underlying the charges are present all mitigating factors that might reduce the potential penalty. 

2.  Enter a Conditional Plea, which permits a licensee to negotiate for a limited penalty. If the State Liquor Authority rejects the proposed penalty, the plea is vacated.

3.  Enter a plea of Not Guilty.  Upon entering a Not Guilty plea, a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge will be scheduled at which the accused can present evidence and call witnesses on its behalf.  If at the end of your hearing, the liquor license violations are sustained, the penalties can include:

  • Revocation – termination of liquor license along with a two year ban on reapplying for a new liquor license.
  • Cancellation – termination of liquor license. No ban on the re-issuance of liquor license within two years.
  • Suspension – prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages for a designated period.
  • Civil penalty - monetary fine.
  • Bond Claim - a claim made against licensee's surety bond.
  • Proscription - prohibits the issuance of a liquor license to the licensee or any person seeking to operate at the licensed premises for a period of two years. Requires revocation of the licensee’s liquor license.     
  • Summary Suspension - under the State Administrative Procedure Act, a State agency is authorized to summarily suspend a liquor license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.

If you are in need of legal representation to fight a liquor license violation issued by New York's State Liquor Authority, call DiPasquale & Summers for a free consultation at (646) 343-4607.

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