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What if you receive a citation for violating liquor code?

For an establishment that serves alcohol, losing a liquor license is incredibly detrimental and may even ruin your business. In Pennsylvania, it is the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (PSP BLCE) that enforces liquor license violations.

A business may lose its liquor license for many reasons. Below are three common violations.

Serving alcohol after 2:00 a.m.

Establishments that serve alcohol in Pennsylvania are not allowed to serve past 2:00 a.m. The law also states all customers must consume their drinks and leave the business by 2:30 a.m.

Serve anyone who is visibly intoxicated

It is also against the law to serve a visibly intoxicated patron. However, the liquor code does not hold bars or restaurants liable if the intoxicated person gets into an accident after leaving the establishment.

Sell alcohol to minors

Obviously, it is against the law to serve minors. And yet, many businesses get in trouble for violating this part of the liquor code. You can avoid this issue by asking everyone who comes into your establishment for an ID. The law does not require it, but it could prevent you or your employees from making a mistake.

Police issue a citation

If your business is found violating one of these laws, the PSP BLCE will issue you a citation. It is then up to the Office of Administrative Law Judge to present findings, make conclusions about laws and penalties and issue a judgement. It is this office that revokes an establishment's license.

Anyone who has his or her liquor license revoked cannot apply for another license for three years after it is revoked. The establishment with the revoked license cannot get a new license for at a year.

You can appeal a revocation

However, if your license was revoked, you have 30 days to appeal the decision with the Office of Administrative Law Judge. These hearings are like court hearings. The liquor licensee can testify and call witnesses. The PSP BLCE can also call witnesses and testify. However, the burden of proving you violated the state's liquor code is on the police.

If you are facing a license revocation, you may want to contact an attorney that has represented clients facing liquor license issues. An attorney can collect evidence on your behalf and represent you before the Office of Administrative Law Judge.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C

1290 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

Toll Free: 888-894-0351
Phone: 412-455-5388
Fax: 412-968-0254
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