"BO CAME TO MY RESCUE."
Cassandra K., Costa Mesa, CA
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE LICENSING
HOW TO SELL ALCOHOL BEVERAGES IN CALIFORNIA?
For any company or person who wishes to sell alcoholic beverages in the state of California, they must apply for and been approved of an alcohol license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, known here in California as the ABC. The ABC issues and enforces alcoholic beverage licenses throughout California and often cooperate with local law enforcement to enforce alcohol related violations and crimes, including but not limited to Sales of Minors, Sale and/or Consumption After Hours, Sale to Purchase Between Retailers, and Driving Under the Influence.
In addition to an ABC license, you must apply for and been approved of a local permit for the sale of alcoholic beverages on the property you want to sell alcoholic beverages. This permit is known as a Conditional Use Permit and is issued by the land use division of the government agency that has jurisdiction over the property you wish to do business on. For example: If you plan to open a restaurant that sells alcoholic beverages in the City of Los Angeles, you must obtain a land use permit from the City of LA; however, if it's located in the County of Los Angeles, you must obtain a permit from the County of LA.
IS IT ILLEGAL TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WITHOUT AN ABC LICENSE IN CALIFORNIA?
Yes, it is illegal to sell alcoholic beverages without an ABC license in California. If you are arrested or ordered to court for illegally selling alcoholic beverages without an ABC license, the local prosecutor's office can and often times will start criminal proceedings against you in criminal court, just as if you were arrested for any other criminal violation. Meaning, your criminal case will be treated as any other criminal case. A misdemeanor in California may carry a 6 month or up to 1 year of jail time and/or up to $1,000 in criminal fines. In addition, you may be ordered to serve probation as well as other criminal penalties. See Sale of Alcohol Crimes.
IS IT ILLEGAL TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WITHOUT A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT?
Yes, it is also illegal to sell alcoholic beverages without a Conditional Use Permit in your local city or county. If you are arrested or ordered to court for illegally selling alcoholic beverages without a local land use permit allowing you to do so, the prosecutor's office can and often times will start criminal proceedings against you in criminal court, just as if you were arrested for any other criminal violation. Meaning, your criminal case will be treated as any other criminal case. A misdemeanor in California may carry a 6 month or up to 1 year of jail time and/or up to $1,000 in criminal fines. In addition, you may be ordered to serve probation as well as other criminal penalties. See Sale of Alcohol Crimes.
CAN YOU APPLY FOR AN ABC LICENSE IF YOU HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD?
This really depends on several circumstances and you should highly seek an experienced ABC lawyer for advise. When you apply for any ABC license, you will have to disclose all your past criminal history. There is no time limit, meaning "any" criminal issue you had in the past must be disclosed. A Live Scan FBI and Department of Justice background check will be required, meaning that literally all your criminal history will be available to the ABC for review. Non-lawyer consultants will have to advise you to seek legal counsel as to the legality and consequences of your criminal history at this junction. However, our firm can legally advise you of your criminal record and resolve any issues at court prior to or during your ABC application. For example: our client, a partner of a bar business inadvertently neglected to disclose a criminal conviction 7 years ago. He totally forgot because he never complied with the conviction order, resulting in a warrant and revocation of his probation. With our criminal law experience, our firm resolved the warrant and probation and obtained an approval of the ABC application for our client.
TYPES OF ABC LICENSE SERVICES OFFERED BY BO LEE LAW GROUP:
Applying for a new ABC license for your business - Bo Lee Law Group has extensive experience in applying for and obtaining a new ABC license for businesses. There are approximately 88 different types of licenses offered by the ABC. Thus, choosing the right license and preparing and applying for the correct license may often be difficult and time consuming for the business owner, especially a start-up business.
Transferring a ABC license to a new owner of a business - Bo Lee Law Group has extensive experience in applying for and transferring an existing ABC license for businesses. Most all ABC license transfers require the assistance of an escrow service, meaning there are a lot of documents to be reviewed. These documents are often overlooked by sellers and buyers that are not represented by lawyers. Moreover, license brokers are not lawyers, meaning it is illegal for them to give you legal advice. Thus, hiring a law firm to transfer an ABC license is beneficial as a lawyer will be able to review any documents that may effect you legally and provide legal advise as to those issues.
Transferring a ABC license to a new business location - transferring an ABC license to a new location is very complicated and limited annually. Thus, consulting a lawyer is recommend should you want to transfer your ABC license to a new location.
Expansion or modification of ABC license privileges and conditions - expansion of an ABC license is when you desire to expand your business footprint. For example: if you plan to increase your restaurant's square footage or add a patio or other addition, you are required to inform ABC and apply to include the expansion in your ABC license. In contrast, modification of conditions are a request to modify any conditions of your current ABC license. For example: if your ABC license has a condition that prohibits pool hasll, but you wish to add a pool table to your business, then you must request a condition modification.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A LAWYER TO EXPEDITE OR TRANSFER AN ABC LICENSE:
The complexity and legality of California's ABC Laws, licensing procedures, and penalties
The complexity and legality of California's Business & Professional Code (BPC) and penalties
An experienced ABC licensing lawyer will often save you time and money in expediting an ABC license
An experienced ABC licensing lawyer can negotiate difficult legal issues when applying for an ABC license
An experienced ABC licensing and criminal defense lawyer can help you successfully maneuver through the criminal court system in expediting an ABC license
An experienced ABC licensing lawyer can offer legal advice associated with your ABC license
An experienced ABC licensing lawyer may appear for you on most cases related to your ABC license