Both federal and state laws govern who can be granted a liquor license. State regulations vary, but all require a criminal record background check. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau develops regulations that conform to the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
A criminal background check is used to determine the “fitness” of the applicant. Felony convictions and specific misdemeanor convictions may negate the ability of an applicant to gain a liquor license. The length of time since a DUI or drug related conviction and the type of prevention treatment you have completed since the arrest will be taken into consideration.
Liquor Control Commission
Local liquor control commission offices govern the issuance of liquor permits in a designated geographic area. In addition to conducting criminal background checks, the agency also determines the number of permits available in a specific municipal area.
A city council or other related municipal authority can recommend or disapprove a liquor license to an individual or place of business. The state department of liquor licenses or liquor control board will take the local input into consideration when reviewing a permit application. Typically the review process takes 60 days and includes a right to appeal a rejection.