Can a Felon Get a Liquor License?

The best way for a felon to get a fresh start post-release is to think positive and start on the right note.

The sad part however is there aren’t too many career opportunities available and the chances of getting a job are bleak. Most felons are looking to make things right and that’s the reason they make for good employees.

can felon get a liquor license

While most of them are not sure which industry suits them, hospitality is the most promising.

If you have had a brush with the law in the past and you are wondering if you can get a liquor license then here are a few things you need to know.

Understanding Liquor License

A liquor license is the approval to sell alcohol at a public place. In certain states, the issued license is valid all over the country however this varies from state to state. There are various liquor licenses one can avail of. These include:

  • Wholesaler or supplier
  • Brewer or manufacturer
  • Onsite sales
  • Sales during special events

can a felon get the liquor license

The most common category happens to be the onsite sales liquor permit. This license allows one to serve liquor at various sites, depending on the event. An onsite liquor license is further divided into subcategories:

  1. Tavern License

If alcohol is served along with the food then a tavern license is required in some states. If you plan on serving alcohol along with food then you need this license. You need a tavern license only if 50% of the revenue is generated through alcohol sales.

  1. Wine And Beer

As the name suggests, this license allows one to serve only wine and beer at events.

  1. Restaurants

In restaurants, where about 40% of sales come from alcohol, they would require a restaurant liquor license. This includes serving all kinds of liquor, beer, and wine.

  1. Club License

A Golf club, a Country club, or a private club is permitted to serve alcohol to their members only if they hold this license.

Understanding Business License

Apart from a liquor permit, you need a business license to run a successful establishment. These include licenses from federal and state agencies depending on the nature of the business, the location, and the laws of that state.

  • A Federal License – If the business activities are regulated by a federal agency then a Federal license is needed. This includes agriculture, alcohol, and firearms.
  • A State License – A state license may be needed based on the nature of the business such as construction, restaurant, or retail operation.

An applicant should contact the state to understand the licensing requirements based on their area of interest. There are multiple reasons why it is necessary to opt for a business license. These include:

  • Identifying the nature of the business
  • Ensuring accountability
  • Protecting public health and safety
  • Maintaining a tax record

It also helps to avoid penalties and protects the business in question. Not registering for the right license could result in the business shutting and could put the felon in trouble again.

Opportunity For Felons

Just because you had a brush with the law or you committed a felony, it doesn’t mean you cannot apply for a business or a liquor license. When applying, you may be asked why you were convicted. If you can provide a reasonable explanation there is no reason why your license will be held back.

can felons get liquor license

It is, however, important that the felon meets all requirements to obtain a liquor license. This includes:

  • Good moral character
  • Good tax-paying record
  • Being a qualified legal voter
  • Being a legal citizen of the country

Although the requirements to get a liquor license differ from state to state, most states do conduct a criminal background check. This is why a felon should pass a moral character test before they apply for a license. Here are a few reasons for rejecting a license:

  • A liquor license is not given to an applicant who was convicted on charges of gambling or DUI as this is considered a crime of moral turpitude.
  • A person with a revoked license can’t get a liquor license.
  • Anyone with a license that got in trouble with the law because of manufacturing or selling intoxicating liquor will not get a license.

Criteria For Liquor License

All applicants who want a license must apply to the state’s supervisor. In most states, the applicant needs to be at least 21 years of age. Here are a few more criteria that must be met to get a liquor license.

  • The applicant should not have had a felony conviction in the past 5 years
  • The applicant should not have had violated any of the state liquor laws in the past 5 years
  • There should have been no violation of moral turpitude liquor laws within the past six months

You should be honest with regards to your felony convictions when applying for an alcohol license. Charges could be pressed against the applicant if the provided information is proven to be false during a background check. An applicant could also go back to prison for this.

Final Thoughts

Most people fear felons and one of the most common reasons is the felons being dishonest and distrustful. It’s important to be as honest as possible and work closely with the authorities to obtain your license. Coming clean at the start may seem like a challenge but it is the best way to begin a new venture. If you have nothing to hide then you have a stronger chance of getting the license.

You can also choose to get in touch with an attorney who will provide you with the right legal advice. This will help you take the right steps to obtain your license.

You also have the choice of expunging your criminal record however that is in the hands of the authorities. To get a clear record, you can ask your attorney to work with the authorities. Before applying for a license, you should try and get your record expunged.

You can also choose to do something productive like enroll in an educational program. Most people consider this strong evidence of good moral character.

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