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: If a party cannot attend the Pre-Hearing Conference and/or Formal Hearing due to a scheduling conflict, the party must submit a written request for a continuance. If a continuance is granted, the Pre-hearing Conference and/or Formal 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.
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, Appeals and Judicial Services Division at the Virginia ABC Headquarters in Hanover County. Consideration is given to the timeliness of the request and to any objection by other interested parties.
Hearings: Hearings concerning alleged violation(s), complaint(s) or contested applications are held before an Administrative Law Judge or the Virginia ABC Board.
Interested party: Person(s) or organization that believe they may be affected by the granting of an ABC license or application.
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.