What consequences does a licensee face for violating the Act or Rules?
Administrative penalties. Any person licensed by ABC, and his employees, must abide by all the laws of the State. If ABC has evidence of a violation involving a licensee or a licensed premises, it will file an administrative complaint, called an accusation. An accusation, if proven, will lead to the suspension or revocation of the license. An accusation is in addition to, and not a substitute for, possible criminal and civil penalties that local city and district attorneys may bring against the licensee or employee who committed the violation. Criminal penalties can result from violations that are criminal offenses. For example, the sale or service of alcoholic beverages to a minor or an obviously intoxicated person is not only grounds for an accusation, but constitutes a criminal offense. Thus, the seller/server could be arrested, charged with a crime, and face a fine, community service work or imprisonment in county jail. Civil penalties are money judgments and penalties resulting from a lawsuit or a permanent injunction. A local district or city attorney may bring an injunction against a licensee in cases such as a public nuisance. Also, ABC may seek an injunction against a licensee for ongoing violations by sending its request to the Attorney General, who files in the local Superior Court. ABC will seek injunctive relief in aggravated cases when there have been prior, recent, similar violations and/or there is a pending accusation involving similar violations. (Sections 24201, 24023, 23053.1, 25602.2 and Government Code Section 11503)