How a Liquor License Lawyer Can Assist Your Business

In the U.S., the sale of alcohol is overseen by a complicated regulatory process, part of which is the issuance of liquor licenses. Ensuring that businesses that sell alcohol are properly licensed is an important way the government ensures that sellers adhere to laws and keep patrons and customers safe, but strict and complex regulations often cause problems for business owners. Sometimes even a small administrative oversight results in the revocation or suspension of a liquor license, leaving owners with serious financial, legal, and business issues.

In reality, many mistakes that lead to license issues can be prevented by working with a good liquor license attorney. The experienced licensing lawyers at Scott J. Harris help business owners ensure that their licenses remain protected throughout the life of their business.

This includes helping new business owners become licensed and ensuring that necessary licensing procedures are followed when the business expands or changes hands. We also specialize in helping clients protect and maintain their liquor license when claims or accusations against them jeopardize their license.


Making, selling, and serving alcoholic drinks is one of the most highly regulated businesses in California. Licenses are required at every stage from manufacture and distribution to service and sales. That includes breweries, wineries, distilleries, wholesalers, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants.

Many professionals and business owners in the service industry depend on keeping their alcoholic beverage licenses (including type 47 liquor licenses) in good standing. License holders have numerous responsibilities under state laws and regulations.

There are many different types of liquor licenses in California. One of the most popular licenses that businesses apply for is the California type 47 liquor license. This license allows for restaurants and eating places to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits as well as allow their consumption on the premises.

If anyone complains about your establishment, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officers might start an investigation, which could result in fines of up to $20,000, and even license suspension or revocation. One misstep should not jeopardize your business. Unfortunately, that is often the case.

At S J Harris Law, we provide a strong, effective defense to alcohol licensees and their businesses during ABC license discipline procedures. We bring the experience and professionalism that our clients need. Together, we will protect your license, your reputation, and the future of your business. For a free 15-minute consultation with an attorney from our firm, call 323-894-1095, or contact us online.


Most cities and counties in California require alcohol-related businesses to obtain special permits to operate such as Conditional Use Permits, Business Licenses, and Police Commission Permits. This means that, in addition to state laws & regulations, ABC-licensed business owners are responsible for following numerous local codes such as zoning, building, fire, and health. A single complaint to local authorities could lead to investigations by inspectors and law enforcement officers. Local governments may penalize you or even revoke your permits to operate. At S J Harris Law, we have the knowledge and experience of local codes to deal effectively with city or county governments on your behalf. We bring the experience, knowledge, and professionalism that our clients need. Our expert attorneys will work to get you fair treatment and help you reach a resolution with your local government so you can focus on running your business. Contact us online or call us at 323 894-1095 today for a free 15-minute consultation about your rights and responsibilities under local codes.


Alcohol regulations in California are complex, which can make them difficult to navigate. Our legal team brings years of experience successfully helping a wide range of liquor license holders in many capacities. We frequently work with wholesalers and distributors as well as retail outlets and chains. We also provide legal assistance to caterers, bars, restaurants, wineries, and breweries. Over the years, we have developed positive relationships with local and state agencies, which allows us to more successfully secure and protect our clients’ licenses.

Our team is also available to assist business owners throughout the various stages of the licensing process, including:

  • Helping a new business gather documentation for a successful licensure application
  • Helping established clients modify their licenses when ownership changes
  • Helping business owners understand complex laws that can seriously impact their license (including “tied house” laws)

Scott J. Harris also has special expertise in defending businesses that are faced with restriction, suspension, and revocation of their license. This includes advocating for businesses undergoing disciplinary hearings with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license board.


A wide variety of issues can result in the revocation of a liquor license. One of the most common and serious offenses that leads to revocation is serving minors. Your license can also be revoked due to third-party liability. For example, if a patron at your establishment drinks too much and sustains an injury, displays disorderly conduct, or injures another patron because they are too intoxicated, your license could be revoked.

If you have staff members who are underaged, inexperienced, or otherwise unqualified to serve liquor, it can also cause problems for your license. Even oversights like exceeding the designated occupancy for your property can put your license in jeopardy.

In addition to these common offenses, there are others that many business owners are often unaware of. Administrative oversights such as unpaid taxes, fees, and fines can lead to a license being revoked. Even if you are late paying a fine or forget to renew your license but continue to operate your business, it could endanger your license if discovered by authorities.

Finally, keeping diligent records of liquor you have purchased is more important than many business owners know. If you fail to keep proper documentation (including invoices and order sheets showing when and where you purchased the liquor you are serving), your license could be revoked.

As you can see, many of these potential offenses can easily be overlooked, but the best way to keep your license in good standing is to make sure you are knowledgeable about laws and regulations. While this can be difficult to do alone, a good lawyer can help you stay abreast of regulatory issues and ensure that you are always adhering to the law.


Whenever a business violates state liquor law by selling to a minor, overserving someone who is intoxicated, or through a number of other offenses, they may be faced monetary penalties, suspension, or even revocation of their liquor license.

While having your liquor license revoked is never desirable, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be permanent. By working with a knowledgeable liquor license lawyer, you’ll know that you are doing everything you can to protect your license and your business. Over the years, we have helped countless businesses who have been charged with offenses regain their liquor licenses so they can go on running their businesses without interruption.

Having successfully represented many clients in hearings and appeals, our practice is committed to advocating for our clients and providing an experienced, aggressive defense to help you defend your license. Our long and successful relationships with state regulators and agencies have provided us with a record of success in settling disciplinary cases to prevent them from going to court.

When you need help, we start to work immediately to ensure that you don’t miss deadlines. We then take all the facts of your case into consideration and leverage our experience to help you protect your license and keep your business operational. Whenever possible, we negotiate to avoid a hearing, and when necessary, use our extensive trial experience to demonstrate that the violation in question will not be repeated.

Whether your type 47 liquor license or another type of liquor license is currently being threatened with suspension or revocation or you need legal guidance regarding laws and regulations, Scott J. Harris can help. Get in touch with us for a free consultation at 323-794-0701.


Alcohol-related businesses are among the most highly regulated in California. There are many requirements for obtaining a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and permits from your local government. The license and permit application processes can be challenging. Applicants must endure filling out forms, sending notifications, preparing site plans, responding to inspections, and even attend public hearings. Once licensed and permitted, a business must strictly follow a complicated web of laws, policies, regulations, and local codes.

Schedule a Consultation with a Liquor License Attorney

At S J Harris Law, our attorneys know how to navigate the licensing and permitting processes. We work with you to prepare your applications and interact directly with the government agencies to effectively present your case for eligibility. We know that every client is unique, so we take the time to work out a specific plan that is individually tailored towards each client’s needs. For a free 15-minute consultation call 323 894-1095 or reach out to us online.