Brawl on the Licensed Premises
If you run a bar, nightclub, strip club or any other establishment of that kind, you are familiar with spats of drunken violence. Generally, these acts end as quickly as they begin and sometimes do not even result in police intervention. However, if your liquor establishment is subject to a brawl of some kind and police arrive on the scene, then you are likely to receive a Notice of Charges from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. These charges carry a presumptive suspension of your liquor license or even revocation. In addition to being charged with suffering a Brawl on your premises, you may also receive charges for Maintaining a Nuisance, Illegal Activity, Disqualified Employee, Hindering or Serving an Intoxicated Person. If you or your license have been charged civilly by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, call the ABC liquor law attorneys at (732) 858-5857. Our ABC regulatory practice is headed by former Deputy Attorney General for the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, William C. Fay, IV. He will review your case and strategize how best to fight back against to avoid any suspension of your license. Let us put our experience to work for you in your case.
N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)2 ABC Violation
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)2, “Prohibition against immoral activities; disturbances; nuisance on premises”, no licensee shall engage in or allow, permit or suffer on or about the licensed premises any brawl, act of violence or unnecessary noise.”
The language is clear to specify that these violent acts or brawls do not need to occur on your actual licensed premises. Rather, the phrase “on or about” subjects you to possible suspension for a fight that may have occurred in your parking lot or across the street, depending on the circumstances.
Penalties for Allowing a Brawl or Act of Violence at a Bar
Under the ABC Penalty Schedule, N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11, the presumptive penalty for charges under N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6(a)(2) are as follows:
- 1st Offense – 30-day Suspension
- 2nd Offense – 60-day Suspension
- 3rd Offense – 90-day Suspension
- 4th Offense – Revocation
Sudden Flare-up Doctrine
Pursuant to Zicherman v. Newark, “Sudden flare-ups cannot, of course, be either prophesied or anticipated by licensees and where the evidence preponderate in support thereof, the license will not be held responsible.” It is for this reason that the Division of ABC’s Directors have time and again issued case law ruling that licensees will not be held responsible for a “sudden flare-up” on his or her premises, so long as the licensee or its employees could not have reasonably been aware of the imminence.
Hoboken NJ ABC Liquor License Attorneys
If you or you license has been charged with N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.6 because of a fight that broke out at your bar or restaurant, call (732) 858-5857. While there was likely a police investigation already conducted, you will still be subject the civil penalties courtesy of the ABC or your local municipal board. Do not let them railroad you into a suspension or revocation of your liquor license.