The California ABC actively enforces the alcoholic beverage laws of the state. We’ve been posting a series of “ABC Violation Round-Up” items discussing some of the violations we have seen in recent enforcement actions.
This week….. failure to observe license conditions.
The Violation: It is common for the ABC to issue a conditional license, particularly when issuing a retail license in an over-concentrated or high-crime area. A conditional license contains restrictions in excess of the rules typically applicable to a license of that type. For example, a conditional license might restrict operating hours, prohibit loitering, or restrict the sale of single cans of beer or malt liquor. If a conditional license is issued, the printed conditions must be available for review upon request by any ABC investigator and all listed conditions must be followed. Failure to comply with any condition is grounds for ABC discipline, which can include license revocation.
How to Avoid It: If you have a conditional license, make sure the printed conditions are kept in a secure place at the licensed premises and are available upon request by the ABC or other law enforcement personnel. Make sure the limitations are reviewed with all of your employees and that they understand the importance of compliance. Take particular time to review the conditions with employees who have worked at an alcoholic beverage licensee in the past. Since conditions are license-specific, they may have worked under different restrictions in their prior employment.
Petition to Remove Condition: If a conditional license has been in place for a year or more, and the grounds that led to imposition of a condition no longer exist, it may be possible to petition the ABC to have the condition removed from the license. Our firm routinely files Petitions to Remove Conditions and any of our attorneys can discuss the process with you.
Statute: California Business and Professions Code § 23804
Standard Penalty: 15 day suspension with 5 days stayed for one year. Penalties vary depending on the specific condition violated.
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