The following terms are frequently used to describe the details of the administrative hearings process. Please note that the Code of Virginia (COV 4.1-100) contains additional definitions relevant to ABC laws. Also see the Virginia Codes and Regulations section.
Administrative law judge: An administrative law judge employed by Virginia ABC to preside over and conduct hearings.
Code of Virginia (COV): Laws enforced by Virginia ABC special agents, state police and local law enforcement. The violation of these laws is punishable as a criminal act with fines and/or jail time. COV 4.1-100 is the beginning section of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.
Consent settlement: An alternative method of resolving a violation by a licensee, usually resulting in a suspension of a license and/or payments of a civil (monetary) penalty. The Hearings and Appeals Division initiates a consent settlement under the authority and approval of the Chief Clerk. Any consent settlement must consider the public interests, conform to statutory and regulatory guidelines, and be approved by the Board to be final. (See 3-VAC-5-70-210 for the suggested penalties for first offenses.)
Continuance: The delay of a scheduled hearing to another time pursuant to a party’s written request. Continuances will be granted upon a showing of good cause to the assigned Administrative Law Judge. Continuance requests may be mailed, emailed or faxed (804-213-4731) to the Hearings and Appeals Division at the Virginia ABC Central Office in Hanover County. Consideration is given to the timeliness of the request and to any objection by other interested parties.
Hearing: The administrative process regarding an ABC license, application for a license or permit, or violation of state ABC statutes or regulations conducted before an administrative law judge. The matters generally are concerning an alleged violation(s), complaint(s) or contested application.
Hearing officer: An Administrative Law Judge employed by Virginia ABC to preside over and conduct hearings.
Interested party: The applicant for a license, the licensee or any person who would be aggrieved by a decision of the ABC Board.
Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing: Correspondence from Virginia ABC notifying a licensee or license applicant that administrative charges or objections are pending and providing the dates and times of the Pre-Hearing Conference and Formal Hearing.
Negotiation: An alternative method of resolving a violation by a licensee, usually resulting in a suspension of a license and/or payments of a civil (monetary) penalty. The licensee works directly with the Virginia ABC Office of Legal Counsel to come up with a Negotiated Settlement. The Negotiated Settlement must consider the public interests, conform to statutory and regulatory guidelines and must be approved by the Government Affairs Officer.
Pre-Hearing Conference: A meeting between the parties and the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case to prepare for the Formal Hearing. During the conference, the parties review the nature of the alleged violation(s) or objections, consider motions, disclose evidence, and resolve questions. These conferences are conducted off the record; however, all decisions made or agreements reached in such conferences will be made a part of the record.
Virginia Administrative Code (VAC): Regulations of state agencies, including the Virginia ABC. The Virginia ABC regulations are primarily enforced by Virginia ABC special agents and targeted at Virginia ABC licensees. A violation of these rules is punishable by fines, probation, suspension, or revocation of the Virginia ABC license. Title 3 contains the regulations of the Virginia ABC and begins at 3 VAC-5-10-10.