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?

One of two settlement options may eliminate the need for a hearing in disciplinary cases: consent settlements and negotiated resolutions. In limited circumstances, and provided all parties agree, mediation services also may be available. If you have questions about resolution options, use the above contact information.

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?

Generally, Formal Hearings to resolve alleged violation(s) of the Virginia ABC Act and/or Virginia ABC’s Regulations take place at the appropriate Virginia ABC regional office. In limited circumstances, e.g., significant public interest, local governmental facilities may be utilized. The Pre-Hearing Conference, which prepares the parties for the Formal Hearing, is held either virtually or by teleconference.

When will I be notified of the hearing?

The notice of pre-hearing conference and formal hearing concerning the alleged violation(s) contains the date, time and location of the pre-hearing conference and formal hearing.

Do I need a lawyer at the hearing?

Although not required, if you wish, you may hire an attorney. 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.

What evidence can be presented at the hearing?

All evidence pertaining to the objections/charges should be presented. Parties will have the opportunity to question witnesses, present evidence and offer argument in support of his/her case.

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 find out about the decision of the Administrative Law Judge?

After the hearing, the judge will prepare and mail the parties a written report explaining the decision. This is called an initial decision.

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). If you have questions, contact the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the matter.

Who can appeal the decision of the hearing officer?

An applicant, licensee or another interested party can appeal the decision of the Administrative Law Judge to the Virginia ABC Board.

Where will the appeal hearing be held?

A panel of the Virginia ABC Board will hear the appeal at Virginia ABC Headquarters at 7450 Freight Way, Mechanicsville, Virginia 23116.

What type of evidence can be presented at an appeal hearing?

None, unless the appeal panel unanimously grants a motion to take additional evidence. Any such motion must be received at Virginia ABC's Headquarters ten (10) full days before 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.

What if I have other questions?

Persons having additional questions may contact the Hearings and Appeals Division at (804) 213-4444 or one of Virginia ABC’s regional offices.

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.