So you want to obtain an alcohol beverage permit in Louisiana? First, you need to know if you can qualify. Louisiana law mandates specific qualifications and conditions which must be met before someone can be issued a permit.
The specific law regarding these requirements is codified in La. R.S. § 26:80. Keep reading below for a legal overview of these requirements which are essential to know before making an application to obtain an alcohol beverage permit.
- APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS
As an applicant, you must:
(1) Be a person of good character and reputation and over 18 years of age. In considering a person’s good character or reputation, the commissioner may consider a person’s arrests in determining suitability.
(2) Be a citizen of the United States and the state of Louisiana and a resident of the state of Louisiana continuously for a period of not less than 2 years prior to the date of filing of the application.
(3) Be the owner of the premises or have a written lease for the operation of the premises;
(4) Have not been convicted of distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute any controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I of R.S. 40:964, on any licensed premises where the applicant held or holds an interest in the licensed business. The prohibition provided for here shall be for the lifetime of the offender.
(5) Have not been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the state of Louisiana, or any other state or country.
(6) Have not been convicted in this or in any other state or by the United States or any other country of soliciting for prostitution, pandering, letting premises for prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, keeping a disorderly place, or illegally dealing in controlled dangerous substances.
(7) Have not had a license or permit to sell or deal in alcoholic beverages, issued by the United States, any state, or by any political subdivision of a state authorized to issue permits or licenses, revoked within 2 years prior to the application, or been convicted or had a judgment of court rendered against you involving the sale or service of alcoholic beverages by this or any other state or by the United States for 2 years prior to the application.
(8) Have not been adjudged by the commissioner, or convicted by a court of violating any of the provisions of Louisiana’s Alcohol Beverage Control laws.
(9) Have not been convicted of violating any municipal or parish ordinances adopted pursuant to the provisions of Louisiana’s Alcohol Beverage Control laws. If you have been so convicted, the granting of a permit or of a renewal shall be within the discretion of the commissioner.
(10) Not be the spouse of a person who does not meet the requirements of Paragraphs (1) and (3) through (9), and (11); however, in such cases the age of the ineligible spouse shall be immaterial. For these purposes, the term “spouse” shall also include persons who are considered married outside of the United States, persons who ordinarily hold themselves out as husband and wife, or persons who file their state and federal income tax returns as either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separate”.
(11) Not owe the state or the local governmental subdivisions in which the application is made any delinquent sales taxes, penalties, or interest, excluding items under formal appeal pursuant to applicable statutes.
If the applicant is a partnership, all members of the partnership and all persons furnishing money for the partnership shall also possess the qualifications required of an applicant.
The application must name all partners or financial backers, and furnish their social security numbers and proper addresses.
CORPORATIONS AND LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES
If the applicant is a corporation or a limited liability company (“LLC”), all officers and directors and all stockholders or members owning in the aggregate more than 5% of the stock or of the membership interest in a LLC and the person or persons who shall conduct or manage the business shall possess the qualifications required of an applicant and must furnish all necessary information.
OTHER CORPORATE ENTITIES
If the applicant is publicly traded or another corporate entity, the necessary information is sufficient if submitted by 3 officers of the corporation.
- ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR KEY PLAYERS IN THE BUSINESS
If you are applying for the permit and your business is to be conducted wholly or partly by one or more managers, agents, servants, employees, or other representatives, those persons must also furnish verification of suitability in accordance with Paragraph (6). However, convicted felons may be employed by an applicant if, in the applicant’s business, alcoholic beverages are not the principal commodities sold, handled, or given away.
- FAILURE TO MEET PERMIT QUALIFICATIONS & EXCEPTIONS
If the applicant, or any other person required to have the same qualifications, does not possess the required qualifications, the permit may be denied.
In addition, there are exceptions to the requirements. Apermit may be granted by the Commissioner if the applicant has been pardoned, has had any misdemeanor conviction discharged or dismissed, or the applicant’s civil rights have been restored, or, if the applicant is a firm, association, partnership, trust, domestic or foreign corporation, or other legal entity, the applicant has terminated its relationship with the person or persons whose action directly contributed to the applicant’s conviction.
In the granting of a permit, a conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere by the applicant shall not constitute an automatic disqualification of the applicant as otherwise required pursuant to the provisions of Paragraphs (5), (6), and (7), if all of the following criteria are met:
(a) The felony for which the applicant was convicted is not a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B); and
(b) 10 years or more have elapsed between the date of application and the successful completion of any sentence, deferred adjudication, or period of probation or parole and the final discharge of the defendant.
The Commissioner may grant or continue a permit with respect to an applicant, even though the applicant’s spouse has been convicted of a felony, if the applicant:
(a) Had state and local permits prior to the spouse’s felony conviction; and
(b)(i) Has a regime of separation of property and is the owner of the premises or has a bona fide written lease therefor, or (ii) Owns the permitted premises as the applicant’s separate property.
- HOW SUITABILITY OF APPLICANTS IS DETERMINED
To determine suitability, applicants must be fingerprinted. The applicant must furnish to the ATC a full set of fingerprints to enable a criminal background investigation to be conducted. The ATC must submit the completed fingerprint card to the office of the state policy. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the state police are authorized to send the fingerprints to the FBI for a national criminal history record check. The ATC must require a background investigation of each applicant and clearance by the state police and FBI is a prerequisite to the issuance of an alcoholic beverage permit.
To determine the suitability of spouses of those persons required to submit fingerprints, and all other persons required to possess the same qualifications required of the applicant, the ATC shall require such persons to provide verification of suitability in accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner. Fingerprints are not required for these individuals unless the Commissioner requests fingerprints based upon credible information that a person may not meet the qualifications of an applicant.
- CONTINUING DUTIES
Once issued a license, all persons required to be qualified have a continuing duty to inform the Commissioner of any action which they believe may constitute a violation of the required conditions. The law provides that if you inform the Commissioner of a potential violation, you cannot be discriminated against by the applicant or licensee because of supplying such information. However, the law goes on to also provide all licensees and other persons who have been found suitable, maintain suitability throughout the term of the license.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE PERMIT ATTORNEYS
As you can tell from reading the requirements to obtain an alcohol beverage permit in Louisiana, there are many intricacies and complexities. We have helped many clients secure alcohol and beverage permits resulting in one client making over $18,000 from their permit in just 1 day. There is no denying, an alcohol beverage permit can be essential to the operation of your business in Louisiana, and especially in New Orleans.
If you have legal questions surrounding your application or denial of application for an alcohol beverage permit, contact us at Jason Williams + Associates today. Our initial consultation is free and we are happy to talk to you today. You can speak to us by calling our office at 504-585-1413 or reaching out to us online.