NYC / New York State Liquor Authority License Violations Lawyers
Operating a bistro, restaurant, tavern, bar, nightclub or any other establishment that sells liquor means you are subject to certain rules and regulations. If you are found in violation of these rules, you could face serious consequences. Obtaining the services of an experienced liquor license violations lawyer is essential to protect your business.
There are several reasons you could be notified of a liquor license violation. Some you may not even be aware of, but they could result in the revocation of your liquor license. What are some of these violations?
1. Knowingly or unknowingly allowing illegal activities in your place of business. For example, gambling or drug dealing within your establishment, whether or not you know about it, can jeopardize your liquor license. It is your responsibility to keep track of what is going on in your business and either stop illegal activities or report them.
2. Serving alcohol in unauthorized places within your business, such as a patio. If you have a restaurant that includes outdoor seating, make certain your liquor license covers this area as well.
3. Continuing to serve a customer who is obviously intoxicated. This can become even more serious if the customer leaves the establishment and injures himself or someone else or causes an accident or death. Permanent loss of your liquor license is likely.
4. Failure to keep records of the purchase of your liquor. The records must show the date and place the liquor was purchased.
5. Serving alcohol to someone underage. If you are unsure, always ask for ID.
6. Maintaining a rowdy establishment. When local law enforcement receives a lot of complaints about your business, this can trigger an investigation.
Clearly, the New York State Liquor Authority can conduct investigations in establishments with liquor licenses for a number of reasons. The State Liquor Authority (SLA) often conducts these inspections using undercover police officers. The inspections may be random or in response to complaints. Once they investigate the business, they review the information, and if it is found to have merit, they will issue a notice to the owner or manager.
What are the Consequences?
Once you receive a “Notice of Pleading” telling you what the charges are, you will need to enter a plea. An experienced liquor license violations attorney can advise you on the best option depending on the charges. You can either plead no contest, not guilty, or enter a conditional plea.
A no contest plea basically means you are admitting to the violation. A plea of not guilty will result in a hearing during which you may present evidence. Entering a conditional plea allows you to try and work out a penalty, but the SLA does not have to accept your proposal.
Since some penalties are quite harsh, consulting with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the system is crucial. If this is your first violation, you may just face a fine, but that will also depend on the seriousness of the violation. It is possible to lose your liquor license.
There are several things that could happen when your hearing is over. The SLA could revoke your liquor license and ban you from reapplying for a new license for two years. Your liquor license can be canceled and no ban put on reapplying, Suspending your license for a period of time is another penalty, and this prohibits you from selling liquor. This can have a serious impact on your business.
As mentioned, you can be fined, and some of the fines are quite high. A proscription penalty will revoke your license for two years and no one else can apply for one to run your business for two years. A claim can be made against your surety bond. You can receive a summary suspension. As you can see, even the penalties are complicated so having the expertise of a liquor license violations lawyer will help you understand exactly what is happening and any remedies you may have.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Generally when you open an establishment that serves liquor, whether it is a restaurant or a bar, you are doing so to make a living. Therefore, when faced with the loss of your liquor license, you are also facing the loss of income from your business. An attorney who knows the liquor license laws can often settle your case. They can also aid in getting fines reduced. Depending on the violation you are charged with, you could be liable for criminal charges as well.
It is extremely important that you do not talk to the SLA by yourself. Often business owners can get themselves in more trouble by trying to handle the situation alone. Protecting your interests is the main objective of a liquor license lawyer. They will advise you of your best options and may help negotiate a settlement for the best outcome.