As the owner of a restaurant that serves alcohol, you undoubtedly know that your liquor license plays an important role in your ability to run your business. As a result, you may take careful action to ensure that you do not violate any laws or regulations that could cause the Liquor Control Commission to suspend or revoke your license. However, no one is perfect, and you may find yourself receiving a citation.
Because receiving a violation notice can cause you to feel immense stress and anxiety over the potential outcomes, you may want to better understand what to expect when it comes to handling the citation and subsequent hearing.
Liquor enforcement investigators
It may prove important to understand that only liquor investigators with the state of Ohio can issue citations. Therefore, if a local police officer suspects that you have committed a violation, that officer cannot present you with a citation. That individual would have to inform the liquor enforcement investigators and request that an investigator issue the violation notice.
Attorney General questionnaire
Once investigators issue a notice, they forward their report to the Attorney General's office in order for the case to go before the Liquor Control Commission. That office then sends you a questionnaire regarding whether you choose to admit or deny the allegations when it comes time for your hearing. Filling out and returning the questionnaire gives the Attorney General's office time to prepare for the case, which could save you time in the future.
Hearing and outcomes
You should receive information regarding your hearing weeks before the actual date. During your hearing, you can either deny, admit or plead no contest. If you deny the allegations, the hearing will proceed with both sides utilizing the process to present their arguments and evidence.
If the Commission finds you guilty of the violation, you could potentially have your license suspended or revoked. However, depending on your circumstances, you could also simply pay a fine rather that suffer negative effects to your liquor permit. The decision regarding the outcome of your case does not happen immediately, and you will likely learn of the decision in a few weeks.
When dealing with a hearing concerning your liquor permit, you have the ability to obtain legal representation. An experienced attorney could help you navigate the process and determine your options for working toward the best possible outcomes for the situation you face.