Virginia ABC > Enforcement > Hearings and Appeals > Hearings FAQs

Hearings FAQs

Administrative hearings are generally of two types: (1) Application—to obtain an ABC license, and (2) Disciplinary—to determine whether a licensee has violated one or more ABC laws and regulations.

What do I need to do to request a continuance for a scheduled hearing?

Make continuance requests as soon as you are aware of any conflict, and no later than seven full working days prior to the hearing. Continuances will be granted only upon a showing of good cause. If a continuance request is made less than seven full working days before the hearing, extenuating circumstances that could not be foreseen must be shown. A written request must be submitted to the Hearings Division by email at [email protected] or by fax number at (804) 213-4731.

Are there alternatives to the disciplinary hearing process?

There are three alternative dispute resolutions that may eliminate the need for a hearing. Consent Settlements, Negotiations and Mediation. In order to attempt to mediate a matter, all parties must agree to mediate.

What is a consent settlement?

A consent settlement is a resolution proposal made by Virginia ABC. If accepted, the licensee admits the alleged violation(s) and accepts a monetary penalty and/or suspension of the Virginia ABC license. In certain cases, the licensee must supply missing documentation to accept the proposal. By accepting the consent settlement, the licensee waives the right to a Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing and to all appeals.

Where is the hearing held?

The Pre-Hearing Conference, which prepares the parties for the Formal Hearing, is held virtually through Microsoft Teams. Formal Hearings take place at either the Virginia ABC Headquarters in Hanover County or at the appropriate Virginia ABC regional office.

When will I be notified of the hearing?

You will receive the Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing Notice with the Notice of Opportunity for Negotiation or Mediation that contains the date, time, location and a brief description of the alleged violation(s)/objection(s) roughly thirty (30) days prior to the Formal Hearing.

Do I need a lawyer at the hearing?

Although not required, if you wish, you may hire an attorney to represent your interests in the matter. Delays in hiring an attorney generally are not grounds for a continuance. If you have questions about the hearing notice or hearing date, contact the Chief Clerk by email at [email protected], by phone at (804) 213-4447 or by fax at (804) 213-4731.

What is the role of the Administrative Law Judge at the Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing?

The Administrative Law Judge conducts the pre-hearing conference and formal hearing in a fair and impartial manner while assuring that all relevant and material information is presented in order to make a reasoned decision.

Are witnesses sworn in?

All witnesses testify under oath.

Is the hearing documented?

The hearing is recorded word for word by a court reporter.

Who can attend the hearing?

ABC hearings are open to the public.

How do I obtain a copy of the Initial Decision?

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will prepare and mail the parties the Initial Decision detailing the findings from the hearing including the penalty.

Can I appeal the initial decision of the Administrative Law Judge?

Yes. The party interested in appealing the case must submit a letter to the Virginia ABC Board and the assigned Administrative Law Judge within thirty (30) days after the date of the decision. The appeal request must state the error of fact or law that caused an incorrect or improper decision and must include a non-refundable $50 filing fee. The appealing party must also pay the cost of preparing the initial hearing transcript ($2.85 per page).

Where will the appeal hearing be held?

The Virginia ABC Board will hear the appeal at the Virginia ABC Headquarters, located at 7450 Freight Way, Mechanicsville, Virginia 23116.

Can new evidence be presented at a Board Appeal?

No new evidence will be accepted unless the appealing party can show the evidence was not readily available at the time of the Formal Hearing. Any such request for new evidence must be received by Virginia ABC no less than ten (10) business days prior to the appeal hearing. The parties should be prepared to argue their position based on the evidence accepted at the formal hearing.

Are the decisions of the ABC Board final?

The panel’s ruling on the appeal is the final action of the Virginia ABC Authority, absent timely appeals of right to the local circuit court and subsequently to the Virginia Court of Appeals. The Virginia Supreme Court has the discretion to accept or refuse any appeal from the Court of Appeals’ decision.

Contact Us

(804) 213-4441
Consent settlements:
(804) 213-4451
(804) 213-4688
Dockets / hearings intake:
(804) 213-4685
Final decisions:
(804) 213-4441
FOIA requests:
(804) 213-4447
Virginia code requests (ยง4.1-227)
(804) 213-4447
Chief Clerk:

(804) 213-4447

Mailing address
P.O. Box 3250
Mechanicsville, VA
Fax: (804) 213-4731 

Authority FAQs

In 2018 Virginia ABC transitioned from an agency into an authority. Learn more about the authority, its structure, its impact on operations and changes to employee benefits on the Authority FAQs page.