There’s only one way to get a liquor license in Prince George’s County, but there are many ways to lose one. If your bar or restaurant is facing a suspension or revocation of your liquor license for violating restrictions or regulations, you need to fight for the survival of your business. Scudder Legal has years of experience defending license holders in front of liquor boards. Reach out to us while you still have a chance to save your business.
Liquor Licenses Are Essential for Hospitality Businesses
It takes a bold, ambitious person to be in the hospitality industry in the DC/Maryland area. You go into it knowing that around 60 percent of new food and beverage businesses fail within the first year, and another 20 percent close within five years. Add to that the uncertainty following the Covid pandemic, and you have to have real courage and vision to operate a restaurant or bar these days. As you know, it’s virtually impossible to turn a profit without selling alcohol, and you can’t sell alcohol in DC or Maryland without a liquor license. If your license is threatened because your staff has violated local liquor ordinances, our experienced team is prepared to help you defend your license in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Common PGC Liquor License Violations
The first and most important steps in protecting your liquor license are understanding the regulations that come with it and knowing how to avoid violations. Each local licensing board has dozens of rules and regulations, and, generally speaking, two or more infractions will result in a review and possible suspension or revocation of your license. It’s important to understand that there are over a dozen types of licenses in PGC, each carrying specific rules and restrictions. You must comply with the terms of your specific license.
Common Liquor License Infractions in Prince George’s County, MD
- Serving underaged persons. The legal drinking age in Maryland is 21, so it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under this age. Under liquor license regulations, it is the responsibility of the license holder to determine with reasonable certainty that a patron is of legal age before selling or serving alcohol to them. The only IDs that are acceptable proofs of age are U.S. driver’s licenses, passports, Green Cards, state-issued ID cards, and military ID cards. Local licensing boards take this law very seriously, and bars and restaurants are often busted for serving minors.
- Presence of minors on the premises. Whether people under the age of 18 can even be in your establishment depends on the type of liquor license you hold. For example, with Class B and D licenses, minors cannot be on the premises between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. You are required to check the IDs of everyone entering. In addition, you cannot employ someone under the age of 18 to sell or serve alcohol in your restaurant.
- Sales to intoxicated patrons. You can also be cited for selling or furnishing alcohol to anyone who is obviously intoxicated, acting in a disorderly manner, or a “habitual drunkard.” Liquor license holders are also prohibited from serving alcohol to patrons with intellectual disabilities or to any person whose family member has given written notice with reasons that they should not be served alcoholic beverages.
- Consumption of unauthorized beverages. Liquor licenses specify what types of alcohol you are permitted to sell: beer, wine, liquor, or a combination thereof. If you are licensed to sell liquor (beverages over 15.5% alcohol), you can only sell it by the glass, not by the bottle. If you are caught selling unauthorized alcohol, you will be issued a citation.
- Violations of location or hours. Your license also specifies on what days and during what hours you are permitted to sell alcohol. For example, Class A license holders must stop serving alcohol at midnight, and several types of liquor licenses prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays. You are also barred from allowing patrons to consume alcohol outside of the permitted area—for example, outside while waiting for a table or in the parking lot. It is up to you to make sure your employees know these rules and adhere to them.
- Allowing public nuisances. As a liquor license holder, you are required to operate your establishment in a manner that does not endanger the peace and safety of the surrounding neighborhood. This means you must make sure people are not loitering in the area, that the exterior of your premises is in good repair, and that trash and debris do not accumulate outside your building.
These are just a few of the many rules and regulations you must follow in order to retain your liquor licenses. There are additional rules about how you purchase the alcohol you sell, how it is stored and packaged, whether you can run promotions, and much more. If you are a brewer, distiller, supermarket, franchisee, or another type of business that sells alcohol, you are subject to other restrictions. Attorney Traci Scudder has worked with Maryland liquor law for over 15 years and is well-positioned to help you defend your license if you are in danger of losing it.
Contact Scudder Legal to Protect Your Liquor License
If you are found to be in violation of the terms of your liquor license, your local board could suspend or revoke your license or issue a steep fine. Local ordinances require local expertise. If you are a restaurant, bar, or brewery owner in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, or the District of Columbia, fill out the form on this page to find out how Scudder Legal can help you obtain, maintain, or transfer a liquor license. We only accept cases when we know we can provide effective, efficient service, so you don’t have to worry about wasting your time. Contact us online or call 240-273-3294 to discuss your liquor license concerns or other commercial licensing and permitting needs.