Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Charges
N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 and N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.30
New Jersey Investigators and Detectives employed with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control frequently conduct what are known as “Compliance Inspections”. These inspections are done routinely and randomly in an effort to ensure that retail and wholesale liquor licensees are not in violation of any of the ABC rules and regulations. If your license was recently subject to an inspection and you were unable to produce certain documentation, the you may have received a 7-day notice for production of missing documentation. Failure to produce these documents could result in charges for Hindering under N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 and N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.30. Hindering charges will carry with them a presumptive penalty ranging anywhere from a 30-day suspension up to outright revocation of your liquor license.
If you received a Notice of Charges from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control or from your local Municipal ABC Board, contact the ABC liquor license attorneys at Proetta & Oliver. Our feature attorney, William C. Fay, IV, is a former Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He has prosecuted hundred of matters on behalf of the NJ ABC. Call 732.858.5857 today and find out what we can do to defend against your charges.
Charges for Hindering An ABC Investigation
Hindering charges are filed under N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 and N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.30 in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 requires a licensee to, on demand, exhibit and produce to the Director or other issuing authority all records which are properly subject to the jurisdiction of the Division during an investigation.
“The Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and each other issuing authority may make, or cause to be made, such investigations as he or it shall deem proper in the administration of this chapter and of any and all other laws now or which may hereafter be in force and effect concerning alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture, distribution or sale thereof, or the collection of taxes thereon, including the inspection and search of premises for which the license is sought or has been issued, of any building containing the same, of licensed buildings, examination of the books, records, accounts, documents and papers of the licensees or on the licensed premises.
Every applicant for a license, and every licensee, and every director, officer, agent and employee of every licensee, shall, on demand, exhibit to the director or other issuing authority, as the case may be, or to his or its deputies or investigators, or inspectors or agents all of the matters and things which the director of the division or other issuing authority, as the case may be, is hereby authorized or empowered to investigate, inspect or examine, and to facilitate, as far as may be in their power so to do, in any such investigation, examination or inspection, and they shall not in any way hinder or delay or cause the hindrance or delay of same, in any manner whatsoever. Investigations, inspections and searches of licensed premises may be made without search warrant by the director, his deputies, inspectors or investigators, by each other issuing authority and by any officer…”
N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.30 follows the language of N.J.S.A. 33:1-35. This section provides that every licensee and every person with an ownership interest therein, and every director, officer, agent and employee of every licensee shall accept service of any investigatory request, including a request for documents or testimony or subpoena issued by the Director. If service of a document cannot be made due to the refusal of the licensee or any such person identified above to accept service of same, the licensee may be considered in violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. Additionally, subsection (d) provides that no licensee, permittee or any shareholder, partner or other person having an interest in a license or permit shall refuse to submit to fingerprinting when so required by the Director or the local issuing authority. Furthermore, subsection (e) states that no licensee, permittee or any shareholder, partner or other person having an interest in a license or permit shall refuse to submit full disclosure in a financial investigation, including but not limited to all savings, checking, or other bank or financial accounts held by or for such person or entity individually, jointly, or in trust (for himself or another person or entity), when so required by the Director or the local issuing authority.
What are the Penalties for Hindering an ABC Investigation?
The presumptive penalties for hindering an investigation under N.J.S.A. 33:1-35 and N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.30 can be found under N.J.S.A. 13:2-19.11. The presumptive penalty for hindering will vary depending upon whether you are facing a 1st violation, 2nd violation, 3rd violation or 4th violation and whether the hidnering was a result of the conduct of an employee of the license or the the conduct of the licensee himself/herself. The penalties are as follows:
Hindering By Employee:
- 1st Offense – 30-day suspension
- 2nd Offense – 60-day suspension
- 3rd Offense – 90-day suspension
- 4th Offense – Revocation
Hindering By Licensee:
- 1st Offense – 45-day suspension
- 2nd Offense – 90-day suspension
- 3rd Offense – Revocation
These charges may be “aggravated” based on the circumstances of your case and the presumptive penalties may vary accordingly.
NJ ABC Liquor License Attorney
Facing charges from the NJ ABC can be a harrowing experience. Your license to sell and distribute alcohol may be your primary source of income and your livelihood may depend upon it. Therefore, you cannot trust just any attorney to represent you in your charges. Contact an attorney who has experience both prosecuting and defending these Charges. Our firm’s Partner is a former Deputy Attorney General who spent part of his career litigating ABC cases on behalf of the State of New Jersey. He has the experience and institutional knowledge necessary to handle your matter. Call 732.858.5857 today and schedule your free initial consultation.