Virginia ABC > Enforcement > Hearings and Appeals > Glossary

Glossary of Hearings and Appeals Terms

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.

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 of the Code of Virginia

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 hearing officer. 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: A request by one of the parties to a case to delay a scheduled hearing to another time. Continuances will be granted on a reasonable basis with showing of good cause to the chief hearing officer. Requests may be mailed or faxed to the Hearings and Appeals Division in Richmond (Fax: 804-213-4731). 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, complaint or contested application.

Hearing officer: An administrative law judge employed by Virginia ABC to preside over and conduct hearings.

Informal conference: The portion of an administrative hearing to review the nature of the charges or objections, consider motions 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.

Interested party: The applicant for a license, the licensee or any person who would be aggrieved by a decision of the ABC Board.

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 Legal Counsel’s Office to come up with a Negotiated Settlement. The Negotiated Settlement must consider the public interests, confirm to statutory and regulatory guidelines and must be approved the Government Affairs Officer.

Virginia Administrative Code (VAC): Rules primarily enforced by Virginia ABC special agents, and targeted at ABC licensees. The violation of these rules can be punishable by fines, probation or revocation of the ABC license. These codes represent the agency regulations that apply to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act in the Code of Virginia. 3 VAC-5-10-10 is the beginning of the ABC portion.

Contact Us

(804) 213-4441
Consent settlements:
(804) 213-4444
Dockets / hearings intake:
(804) 213-4685
Final decisions:
(804) 213-4441
FOIA requests:
(804) 213-4447
(804) 213-4440
Virginia code requests (§4.1-227)
(804) 213-4447
Chief clerk:

(804) 213-4447

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