Owners of bars or restaurants in Milwaukee and other nearby cities in Wisconsin must follow various regulations, including specific laws related to selling and serving alcohol. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) oversees the issuance and regulation of liquor licenses. Losing a liquor license can be devastating for any establishment, and it is crucial to understand the potential reasons for disciplinary action. An attorney with experience in business and restaurant licensing can help defend against the loss of a liquor license or other forms of regulatory discipline.

Reasons for Disciplinary Action by the DSPS

The DSPS has strict guidelines that establishments must follow to maintain their liquor licenses. Violations of these guidelines can lead to disciplinary actions, including the potential suspension or revocation of the license. Some common reasons for disciplinary action include:

  • Serving minors: Selling or serving alcohol to people who are under the age of 21 is one of the most severe violations that may be committed by bars or restaurants. Establishments must check IDs to ensure all patrons purchasing alcohol are of legal drinking age. Depending on the number of violations that occur within a 12-month period, a business may face a liquor license suspension for between three and 30 days.
  • Over-serving patrons: Bars and restaurants are responsible for monitoring the alcohol consumption of their patrons. Serving alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated can lead to disciplinary action. If the proper steps are not taken to prevent an intoxicated patron from driving while under the influence of alcohol, a business could be held liable for injuries in a drunk driving car accident.
  • Health and safety violations: Failing to follow regulations that are meant to protect the safety of the public, such as maintaining proper sanitation and food handling practices, can result in penalties from the DSPS.
  • Illegal activities: Allowing prohibited activities such as drug use, gambling, or fights to occur on the premises of an establishment can lead to multiple types of consequences, including the potential loss of a liquor license.
  • Failure to pay taxes: Timely payment of sales taxes and other taxes is essential. Failure to pay these taxes can result in penalties and the potential loss of a liquor license.
  • Non-compliance with local ordinances: Different cities or municipalities may have additional regulations that apply to bars or restaurants regarding operating hours, noise levels, and other factors. Non-compliance with these laws can result in disciplinary action.
  • False information on a license application: Providing false or misleading information on an application for a liquor license application can lead to revocation if these issues are discovered.

How an Attorney Can Help Defend Against Discipline to a Liquor License

The loss of a liquor license can be a devastating blow to a bar or restaurant. However, an experienced attorney can provide crucial assistance when defending against disciplinary actions. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our skilled lawyers can assist with:

  • Legal representation before the DSPS: Our attorneys provide representation in hearings related to alleged violations. We will work to present a strong defense and advocate for solutions that will allow an establishment to continue operating.
  • Gathering evidence: To build a solid defense, our lawyers can help gather and present evidence showing that an establishment has complied with the applicable regulations. We may also be able to demonstrate mitigating circumstances that allow for reduced penalties.
  • Negotiating settlements: In some cases, negotiating agreements with the DSPS may be possible to avoid the suspension or revocation of a liquor license. Our attorneys work to achieve the best possible outcome in a case.
  • Appealing decisions: If the DSPS imposes disciplinary action, our lawyers can assist in appealing a license suspension or revocation, seeking to reverse or reduce the penalties imposed.
  • Advising on compliance: Our lawyers can provide ongoing advice to ensure that a bar or restaurant complies with all relevant laws and regulations. This can help prevent future violations. We also help develop training programs and policies for staff to ensure that all employees understand and comply with regulations.

Contact Our Milwaukee Liquor License Defense Attorneys

If your establishment is facing the potential loss of its liquor license, you can consult with an experienced Milwaukee, WI liquor license defense lawyer at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP to learn about your options for defense. Our team is ready to help you take steps to avoid penalties that could affect the future of your business. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation.