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Virginia ABC > Enforcement > Hearings and Appeals > The Hearings Process

The Hearings Process

The following is a broad outline of Virginia ABC's hearings processes. For questions or additional information, contact the Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Services Division at (804) 213-4444.

Virginia ABC Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Services’ "HAJS" mission is to offer licensees fair and unbiased hearing processes for addressing disciplinary matters related to Virginia ABC law violations, contested applications and franchise disputes. Our core values include accountability by building trust, establishing a reputation for independent analysis of alleged violations, service, integrity, education of licensees and the public, and achieving performance excellence with our licensees and customers. We are committed to remain innovative, collaborative and strive to improve every day ensuring all interested parties have access to an unbiased, fair and efficient dispute resolution system by continually evaluating procedures.

 

1. Consent Settlement period begins.

In disciplinary cases (i.e., alleged licensee violations), the Chief Clerk proposes a consent settlement in writing to the licensee. The licensee can admit the alleged violation(s) and accept a monetary penalty and/or suspension of the Virginia ABC license. By accepting, the licensee waives the right to a Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing and to all appeals. If a consent settlement is not agreed upon, the matter will proceed to a Pre-Hearing Conference and a Formal Hearing.

 

2. The case is docketed.

If the matter cannot proceed through the Consent period or the Licensee has rejected the Consent Settlement offer, the matter is docketed for a Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing. A docket is the official schedule of hearings pending before an Administrative Law Judge. In a letter sent by Virginia ABC the licensee or applicant will be notified of the dates for the Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing (i.e., if neither the consent nor the negotiation processes resolves the matter) (3 VAC 5-10-140). All Dockets are provided online for public access.

 

3. Opportunity to negotiate and/or mediate.

Please contact the Virginia ABC’s Office of Legal Counsel at (804) 213-4688 if you would like the opportunity to negotiate or mediate the charge(s) prior to the scheduled Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing.

 

4. The Pre-Hearing Conference is held.

The goal of the Pre-Hearing Conference is to prepare for the Formal Hearing. At the Pre-Hearing Conference, each party must identify any undisclosed witnesses and materials it intends to use at the Formal Hearing. The parties will also discuss stipulations, procedural and transcription issues, technology needs, and make preliminary motions. The Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case conducts the Pre-Hearing Conference.

If a party cannot attend the Pre-Hearing Conference due to a scheduling conflict, the party must submit a written request for a continuance. If a continuance is granted, the Pre-Hearing Conference will be rescheduled to a later date and time. As a rule, continuances are granted only for substantiated, unforeseeable circumstances. Please note delays in hiring an attorney are not grounds for a continuance.

 

5. The Formal Hearing is held.

The Formal Hearing is usually held at Virginia ABC’s Headquarters or at one of Virginia ABC's regional offices. These Formal Hearings are held before an Administrative Law Judge.

If a party cannot attend the Formal Hearing due to a scheduling conflict, the party must submit a written request for a continuance. If a continuance is granted, the hearing will be rescheduled to a later date and time. As a rule, continuances are granted only for substantiated, unforeseeable circumstances. Please note delays in hiring an attorney are not grounds for a continuance.

 

6. An initial decision is issued.

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge prepares a formal written decision detailing the findings from the case including the penalties. This decision is mailed to all interested parties. Any party may appeal the decision to be heard before the Virginia ABC Board.

 

7. Appeals are made to the Board.

An applicant, licensee or other interested party can appeal the decision of the Administrative Law Judge to the Virginia ABC Board. Valid appeals must identify the mistake of law or fact that led to the alleged error. Please note that a $50 filing fee must accompany the Notice of Appeal. The appealing party will also have to pay a per page fee for transcript preparation.

 

8. An appeal hearing is scheduled and held.

Appeal hearings are scheduled before the Virginia ABC Board and are held at Virginia ABC’s Headquarters in Hanover County.

 

9. A decision from the Board Appeal is issued.

In its Final Decision, the Virginia ABC Board may affirm the Initial Decision, dismiss the charge(s) or objection(s), levy final penalties, or take other action as appropriate under the Initial Decision. The Final Decisions of the Virginia ABC Board are the final action of the Authority. However, the Final Board Decision may be appealed to the local circuit court and beyond that to the Court of Appeals of Virginia. The Virginia Supreme Court has the discretion to accept or refuse any appeal from the Court of Appeals’ decision.

 

Contact Us

Appeals:
(804) 213-4441
Consent settlements:
(804) 213-4451
Negotiations/Mediation:
(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
23116-9998
Fax: (804) 213-4731