The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation, considering each licensee’s disciplinary history, to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited hearing before an administrative law judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.
In most cases, the licensee will lose its license for repeated violations of the law. Even if it is not cancelled or revoked at this hearing, the Liquor Authority will probably exercise its discretion to refuse renewal of the license after the current term expires.
A licensee facing this situation needs an experienced attorney. Even if the license cannot be saved, it can sometimes be negotiated to keep the operation open for a short period to allow a new owner to take over the business. There are other ways an attorney can assist to minimize the impact and financial losses facing a business whose liquor license will be lost.