Top Reasons Why Your Establishment Might Lose Its Liquor License

If you run an establishment that requires a liquor license, then you know that with that license comes certain responsibilities. Loss of a liquor license has a negative impact on your business, even if the penalty is only temporary or minor. Therefore, once you get your license, you have to know your liquor laws well so that you don't get into trouble with California Alcohol and Beverage Control.

Reasons for License Suspension or Revocation

You could be suspended for a variety of reasons, but the ones listed below are the most common reasons why establishments get into trouble with the authorities.

You Allowed Minors Access to Alcohol

If your business is primarily an alcohol establishment, then no one under 21 can enter your business. Eighteen to 21-year-olds can enter if they have legitimate business in the establishment, but cannot be served alcohol. If your business primarily serves food, but also alcohol, then you can have someone over 18, but under 21, serve the alcohol with supervision.

Minors can be tricky in how they try to gain access to your establishment and get served drinks. Your staff should be well trained on how to spot either a fake identification or a minor based on clothing, demeanor, and behavior. Serving minors can have serious criminal penalties under certain circumstances.

You Overserved a Patron

If you knowingly serve someone who is intoxicated, and that person goes out and either gets hurt or hurts someone else, then you may be held responsible. Not only could you lose your license, but you also open yourself up to lawsuits by third parties for any damages and injuries.

You Allowed Patrons to Wreak Havoc

If you allow your patrons to get rowdy and frequently fight or you allow illegal activities such as prostitution and gambling, then you could lose your liquor license. The same goes for other behaviors such as public nudity and excessive noise. Frequent calls to and visits by law enforcement build a case against you and may eventually lead to the shutdown or your business.

You Served Alcohol Between 2 AM and 6 AM

California bars must stop serving alcohol after 2 AM as of January 2020, but state lawmakers have bills in the works that may extend that until 4 AM. Consequently, liquor and grocery stores also cannot sell alcohol between 2 AM and 6 AM. If you sell alcohol even a couple of minutes after the official last call, then you are at risk of losing your license.

You or Your Staff Were Intoxicated

In California, you and your staff of legal age are allowed to drink while bartending. However, the choice is up to you and you don't have to allow drinking if you feel that doing so would cause problems. If drinking is allowed in your workplace, then you must maintain sobriety and the sobriety of the staff.

Length and Severity of Penalties

Penalties depend on the violation, whether you have other violations in the past, and your cooperation with rectifying those past problems. They range from a few days to a few years suspension and you may also have to pay monetary fines. In some cases, when the penalty is less than 15 days, you may be able to alleviate some of the burden with a Petition for Offer in Compromise, or POIC.

When you feel that you did nothing wrong, and you think that the penalties are unjustified, then you should consider an appeal to your revocation. You need to gather up your documents, including police reports, security video, or other documentation of past incidents that led up tot he suspension.

You will need an attorney to help you through the legal process. Whether you want to regain your liquor license, or you apply for a new license, Blomberg Benson & Garrett can help. Call us to talk to one of our staff members and set an appointment to discuss your case.