Navigating Liquor License Applications in Washington

Liquor license application in Washington

When applying for a liquor license application in Washington, there are many hurdles one must jump through in order to be successfully granted a license. It is because of these hurdles that it is important to consult with an attorney before you begin. The various obstacles you and your business face may include: the basic requirements, such as providing floor plans and photographs of the business; speaking with the local public, such as a school, church, or other public institution that is within 500 feet to avoid having them object to your license; or even your past criminal convictions. An attorney will help you navigate the difficult process to ensure you have dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s.

What to do:

When filing for a liquor license, it is important to follow the guidelines exactly. Failing to provide anything requested could result in a denial. Some details may not seem that important, but even failing to label windows on your floor plans could be a reason for denial. An attorney who has experience handling these types of client matters is important because they can provide feedback and guidance with moving forward through the various steps of the application process.

What not to do:

The list of what not to do is a lot longer than the list of what to do. There are many reasons why you may be denied a liquor license. You can be denied for failing to meet the basic licensing requirements. These include making sure your business it up to code, you have submitted floor plans with proper labels, your business is properly set up to operate as a business and that paperwork has been properly filed and approved by the state, and filling out the required acknowledgement forms provided by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Of course, those basic requirements are only the beginning of the reasons why you could be denied your liquor license. There could be objections from local governmental authorities and from local churches, schools, or public institutions that are within 500 feet. It may be important for your attorney to help smooth over past issues with these local places as well as discuss with them the future as to personally address some of their reasons for possible objections.

How can a past conviction harm your application for a liquor license?

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board uses a point system to determine if the person qualifies for a liquor license. The Board will normally deny someone who has 8 or more points. Felonies within 10 years are worth 12 points, gross misdemeanors within the last 3 years are worth 5 points, misdemeanors within the last 3 years are worth 4 points, and being under current state or federal supervision for a felony conviction is worth 8 points. Additionally, each nondisclosure is also worth 4 points.

How can currently pending criminal cases affect your liquor license application?

If you have a criminal case pending against you for an offense that would earn you eight or more points if convicted, the board will hold your application for up to 90 days pending the disposition of the case. However, if the case will take more than 90 days to resolve, the Board will administratively close your file.

The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer has experience handling both criminal law matters and issues dealing with liquor licenses. It is because of this experience that we are able to best serve you on these matters. Contact us today at (360) 334-6277 to schedule a consultation!