California Liquor Law - What do I do if my employee sold to a minor? What if I sold to a minor?

Licensees in California frequently get that call from their employees or managers: "We just sold to a minor decoy, the law enforcement are at our store, what do we do now?" The attorneys of Theta Law Firm are familiar with California's laws on alcoholic beverage control and can help you defend your license in the event of a sale to a minor or other incident relating to your license.

Here are some simple tips to follow if the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control or local law enforcement comes to your licensed premises:

    1. Identify and take statements from your employees and other witnesses.
    2. Don't obstruct law enforcement. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has the right to search and inspect licensed premises without a warrant.
    3. Contact an experienced attorney right away.
    4. Do not talk without speaking to an attorney first. Law enforcement may ask you what seem to be simple of benign questions, but even the most simple information can be used against you and your employees.
The waiting game then begins. It is usually only a matter of time before the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control files an "Accusation" against you, which in some ways is the equivalent of a lawsuit in civil court. The Accusation initiates the administrative action against you. You do not need to roll over and accept punishment from the ABC!

Once the Accusation is filed, you'll want to seek the representation of experienced counsel. Even if this is only your first strike, you are usually better off contesting the matter to delay the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's imposition of discipline for as long as possible (and ultimately to attempt to prevail at the hearing so that you face no discipline at all).

For purposes of the three strikes rule, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will usually not use a pending administrative action against you in determining what kind of discipline to seek against you.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has a three strikes rule for violations that occur within a three year period. For the first violation within three years, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will typically seek a limited suspension and/or a fine. For the second strike, the Department may seek more a longer suspension or a larger fine. On the third strike, the Department will typically seek revocation of your license.

You can reach an attorney at Theta Law Firm by calling us or sending us an email at Theta Law Firm can represent clients all across the State of California, including in any of the following counties: Alameda | Alpine | Amador | Butte | Calaveras | Colusa | Contra Costa | Del Norte | El Dorado | Fresno | Glenn | Humboldt | Imperial | Inyo | Kern | Kings | Lake | Lassen | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Modoc | Mono | Monterey | Napa | Nevada | Orange | Placer | Plumas | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Luis Obispo | San Mateo | Santa Barbara | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Shasta | Sierra | Siskiyou | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Tehama | Trinity | Tulare | Tuolumne | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba