California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Penalty Guidelines

The attorneys of Theta Law Firm are familiar with California's laws on alcoholic beverage control and can help you obtain or defend your liquor license in the event of a sale to a minor or other incident relating to your license.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has adopted Rule 144, which sets forth the disciplinary guidelines that the Department shall consider in reaching a decision on a disciplinary action.

Rule 144 (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 4, § 144) provides:

§ 144. Penalty Guidelines.

In reaching a decision on a disciplinary action under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (Bus. and Prof. Code Sections 23000,et seq.), and the Administrative Procedures Act (Govt. Code Sections 11400,et seq.), the Department shall consider the disciplinary guidelines entitled "Penalty Guidelines" (dated 12/17/2003) which are hereby incorporated by reference. Deviation from these guidelines is appropriate where the Department in its sole discretion determines that the facts of the particular case warrant such a deviation - such as where facts in aggravation or mitigation exist.

The guidelines themselves provide, in pertinent part:

           Aggravating factors may include, but are not limited to:

                 1. Prior disciplinary history

                 2. Prior warning letters

                 3. Licensee involvement

                 4. Premises located in high crime area

                 5. Lack of cooperation by licensee in investigation

                 6. Appearance and actual age of minor

                 7. Continuing course or pattern of conduct

           Mitigating factors may include, but are not limited to:

                 1. Length of licensure at subject premises without prior discipline or problems

                 2. Positive action by licensee to correct problem

                 3. Documented training of licensee and employees

                 4. Cooperation by licensee in investigation

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