New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Attorney
Did you recently receive a Demand for Testimony from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control? If so, you are probably wondering what exactly this means and what is going to happen. These emotions and concerns are understandable and expected of any New Jersey liquor licensee. As a former Deputy Attorney General of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, I can confirm that these demands must be taken seriously. If the Division is investigating you and your license, then they are likely trying to develop a case. If you walk in and provide testimony to the Division of ABC, then you may incriminate both yourself and your license. This could lead to the suspension or revocation of your license and your removal from the Alcoholic Beverage Industry altogether. Do not let this happen. Call the ABC attorneys at Proetta & Oliver today and speak with an attorney about your Demand for Testimony. Let us put of years of ABC experience to work for you and your license.
N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 Law
The Demand for Testimony you received is likely attached to a cover letter that states the following:
“On the aforementioned date, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (Division) will take your statement as part of its administrative investigation of the above-referenced matter pursuant to the Director’s authority as set forth in N.J.S.A. 33:1-35. Thus, although the procedure for the taking of these statements will be similar to a civil deposition in that you will be required to answer the Division’s questions under oath, the proceeding is not a “deposition” as the term is generically understood in civil litigation (especially since no such litigation has been instituted at this date) nor is the proceeding governed by the New Jersey Court Rules.”
This will be attached to the formal Demand for Testimony that is signed by the Director. If you are a licensee, permit holder or are employed by either, then you are subject to the powers of the New Jersey ABC Director. These powers require that you comply with these Demands, or face immediate suspension of your license to operate, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-35.
Can I Bring My Attorney to a Demand for Testimony?
It is well-settled that a person appearing before an administrative agency has no constitutional right to the assistance of counsel, even though a witness’ testimony might expose that witness to criminal charges in the future. In re Groban’s Petition, 352 U.S. 330 (1957). See also, In re Bufanio, 119 N.J. Super. 302 (App. Div. 1972) (rejecting a claim by a witness before the Waterfront Commission who argued that testimony which he gave during an investigatory interview conducted by the Commission was improperly admitted into evidence at the Commission’s hearing because he had been denied the right to counsel during the investigation); In re Tufi Application, 182 N.J. Super. 631 (App. Div.), certif. den., 91 N.J. 189 (1982) (holding that the Division of Gaming Enforcement did not violate appellant’s due process rights when, in investigating his license application, it 2 deposed appellant without presence of counsel). Similarly, an employer which is the subject of an administrative investigation has no right to have its counsel attend the interview of its employee. In re Comprehensive Investigation of the School District of Newark, New Jersey, 276 N.J. Super. 354 (App. Div. 1994) (holding that a school district was not entitled to presence of counsel during interviews of school district personnel as a matter of due process under the New Jersey Constitution).
Nevertheless, our firm has found that the Division will grant our request to assist our clients during these deposition-style statements. Developing a rapport with the prosecuting attorney can go a long way in protecting our clients interests.
Liquor Law Attorneys for NJ ABC
Experience matters. Few attorneys specialize in Alcoholic Beverage laws and regulations. Fewer have experience actually prosecuting on behalf of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. At Proetta & Oliver, firm partner, William C. Fay, IV, spent part of his career as the Deputy Attorney General for New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He once prosecuted the very cases that he now defends clients against. Call 732-858-5857 today and speak with Mr. Fay about the merits of your case.