Businesses that have liquor licenses are often charged with having a disorderly premises. In cases involving violence, a disorderly premises charge can lead to a summary suspension and eventual revocation of the license. These can be very difficult cases to fight because the State Liquor Authority’s burden of proof is very low. A 2018 case, In the Matter of Last Train Stop, Inc. v. New York Liquor Authority, 161 A.D.3d 867 (2018), explains what must be proven, and the burden of proof in these cases.
The State Liquor Authority does not have to prove that the licensee knowingly suffered or permitted disorderly conduct. It merely has to show that there was noise, disturbance, misconduct or disorder on the premises as adequate to that is related to its business operations, or conduct of its patrons, that affects the local inhabitants. And in making that showing, its standard of proof is “substantial evidence” and means that a given inference of the Authority is reasonable and plausible, not necessarily the most probable. The relevant proof must merely be sufficient for a reasonable mind to accept what the Authority concludes. That burden is much, much less than the standards that apply in other courts and cases such as a preponderance of the evidence, overwhelming evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you find yourself on the wrong end of a disorderly premises violation, you would benefit from professional guidance in resolving the matter to avoid potential loss of your valuable liquor license asset.