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Contested Licenses

If you wish to object to the granting of a Virginia ABC license, please complete this online form or call (800) 552-3200.

As part of the licensing process, ABC special agents contact local officials, residents and business people in the vicinity of the establishment to see if there are any objections. Some common citizen objections are that the prospective licensees' proximity to residential areas, churches and schools would adversely affect those facilities, or would affect property values.

Hearings for Contested Licenses

If an application is contested, an administrative hearing is held before a hearing officer in the vicinity of the establishment in question. The license applicant and those who object to the license appear at the hearing to present their respective concerns. The applicant and objectors may each choose to be represented by an attorney, but such representation is not required. While strict rules of evidence are not applied, the prospective licensee and the objectors should be prepared to provide evidence which supports their views.

If the objectors or prospective licensee are not satisfied with the hearing officer's decision, they can appeal that decision to the ABC Board. Board hearings are conducted at the ABC Central Office in Richmond. If either party is not satisfied with the Board's decision, the case can be taken before the circuit court system.

Restriction, Suspension or Revocation of an Existing License

ABC has three main methods for discovering problems associated with current licensees: site visits conducted by agents, information from other law enforcement entities and citizen complaints.

Problems leading to fines, suspension or revocation of a license can include: selling alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person or an underage person; operating a noisy and disorderly establishment; and failure to maintain food sale requirements.

If an ABC agent finds license violations, a disciplinary hearing with a hearing officer will be conducted. Aggrieved localities and members of the community may attend the hearing and voice any relevant objections or complaints concerning the license. The appeal rights are the same as with the application process.

To report ABC violations, use our Violation Complaint Form or call the ABC Crimeline at (800) 552-3200.

We Welcome Your Involvement

Community participation plays a key role in ABC's efforts to maintain public safety while providing public service to Virginians. If you have concerns about an establishment attempting to be licensed, or an existing licensed establishment, contact the ABC office in your region. In some areas of the state, community groups have arranged with their regional ABC office to be notified of each license application within a certain geographic area. Contact your regional ABC office to discuss such an arrangement.

For Assistance

For ABC licensing assistance, please contact your regional ABC office or emailĀ enforcement@abc.virginia.gov.