A licensing determination or disciplinary action which is not resolved at the internal level, also known as informal disposition, may be set for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
The related Statutes and Rules which govern the procedure may generally be found under Tex. Gov’t Code 2001 et seq, 1 Tex. Admin. Code 155 et seq, and various provisions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and Agency Rules.
Unlike Civil and Criminal Cases, neither the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code nor TABC Rules provide deadlines for the following -
Agency licensing determinations. (How long the agency can wait to decide whether to grant or deny a pending application.)
Statute of limitations. (How long the agency can wait to issue a notice of violation)
Time for Hearing Rights. (How long the agency can wait to have an administrative case heard)
The ALJ may hear evidence from the Commission, also called the Petitioner, and the applicant or permittee/licensee, which is called the Respondent. A “proposal for decision” will usually be issued within 60 days after the record has closed. See Tex. Gov’t Code 2001.143.
After the time period for exceptions, replies, and ALJ has passed (which can take up to 45 days), the proposal for decision is sent to the Commissioners for issuance of an agency order.
There is no deadline for the agency to issue a decision. Based on our review of cases filed in the last few years, agency orders can take anywhere three months up to twelve months.
It is important to hire a liquor law attorney experienced representing persons before the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to help you decide whether to settle a case informally in the field, or proceed with a formal hearing. The agency could offer you a resolution that is not necessarily based in law or fact, which could have profound consequences not only to your permit or licenses but beyond that as well.