Municipal Hearings for Liquor Licenses
Do I Need a Liquor Licensing Attorney for a Municipal Hearing?
In those instances where there are objections to the renewal/transfer of a liquor license or a local issuing authority files a Notice of Charges seeking suspension on a liquor license, a formal Hearing must take place. During the hearing, the local governing board or the ABC Board (if one exists in that municipality) will act as the “authority” in a quasi-judicial setting. These Hearings are generally not as formal as an actual court proceeding, but a formal recording and transcription must exist. Furthermore, the evidence rules, while still applicable, may be drastically relaxed. For an understanding of the rules under which these Hearings will occur, refer to the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules. Depending upon the underlying issue, these hearings could determine whether or not your license is renewed or possibly even revoked.
If you are facing a formal Hearing before your local ABC Board, contact the Alcoholic Beverage Law Attorneys at Proetta & Oliver. Firm Partner, William C. Fay, IV, is a Former Deputy Attorney General of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He is well-versed in the administrative procedures and liquor licensing laws relied upon at a Municipal Hearing. For a complimentary consultation, call the ABC attorneys at (732) 858-5857.
What is an ABC Board?
An ABC Board is an appointed three member, bipartisan board which may be established in any municipality which has a population of at least 15,000. The board has all of the powers, duties, and obligations relating to alcoholic beverage activity within a municipality and exercises them instead of the governing body. Currently there are about 20 municipalities in New Jersey that utilize an ABC Board.
Who Prosecutes the Case for the Town?
If you are facing a Notice of Charges or Restrictions against your license, the case will be presented municipal prosecutor on behalf of the municipality (unless a special prosecutor is retained). The municipal attorney may also be involved as counsel to the issuing authority/ABC Board. You, as the licensee, are also permitted to retain your own representation (an advisable strategy for any licensee). Both parties will present their own case and the issuing authority will make a formal ruling on the record. For the municipalities case to stand, the issuing authority must find that the charges have been established by a preponderance of the credible evidence. If so, then the local issuing authority will move to impose a suspension or restriction on the license. These “findings” must be placed in the form of an adopted resolution. These decisions may be appealed directly to the Director of ABC.
What are the Penalties for Liquor License Charges?
In the case of municipal charges, the only penalties available to a local issuing authority are suspension or revocation. These penalties will presumptively coincide with the penalty schedule that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control adopted by regulation. Where the license is revoked, the holder of the license, including but not limited to the shareholder of a corporation, are automatically ineligible to hold any other license for a period of two years. Upon a second revocation, they are barred forever from holding a license.
Municipal Liquor License Attorneys in NJ
Liquor licenses are valuable pieces of property. Do not let your municipality subvert your ability to generate an income or sell-off your interests. Contact the attorneys at Proetta & Oliver and let us handle the difficult task of fighting your charges. Our attorneys are available seven days a week and can be reached at (732) 858-5857.