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Colorado Liquor License Attorney

Colorado Liquor License Attorney

Liquor licenses are valuable assets for many businesses. However, obtaining a license can be a complicated process. An experienced and knowledgeable Colorado liquor license attorney is critical for avoiding pitfalls and preserving your investment.

At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., located in Denver, Westminster, Denver Tech Center, and Breckenridge, we routinely guide businesses through the liquor license process. Our clients include large corporations as well as small businesses, including:

  • Retail liquor stores
  • Restaurants
  • Bars and taverns
  • Hotels
  • Movie theaters

We also represent clients seeking to obtain beer and wine licenses, tavern licenses, and hotel, bar, and restaurant licenses.

What Sets our Colorado Liquor License Lawyers Apart?

  • We have a long history of providing exceptional legal services to our business and commercial clients.
  • We are a full-service law firm. We can handle most issues that a business owner faces, from an employment to a delicate business dispute. We use a collaborative approach to conquer any legal challenge that comes our way.
  • Our Colorado liquor license attorneys have been representing businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals for over 100 years combined. We have ample experience obtaining liquor licenses, violations, and defending the rights of clients involved in related lawsuits throughout Colorado.

Skilled Legal Guidance at Each Stage of the Process

The process of acquiring a liquor license involves several steps, and you will need guidance through each step. Each of these steps requires following and completing detailed and technical requirements. We understand effective strategies for navigating the hurdles that may arise.

  1. The first step is completing the application. This is a technical process, which must be done just right, or the application will be rejected by the state or local liquor license authority. Getting the application right the first time will avoid delaying your project.
  2. The applicant must then petition or survey the neighborhood surrounding the new license location to determine the needs and desires of the local community. This is another important technicality that must be done as a part of the licensing process. There are several professional companies that we work with for this part of the process to obtain accurate and complete results.
  3. Finally, the applicant must appear at a public hearing before the liquor licensing authority. We are skilled trial Denver business law attorneys who enjoy public speaking and appearing at hearings. We are your voice in the process and help guide you to the final result of obtaining your license.

Colorado Liquor License Laws

Colorado’s liquor license laws are extremely complex and nuanced. A wide variety of local and state laws exists regarding the sale of alcohol in the state. For example, the state alone issues licenses for the production and distribution of liquor; however, both the state and local municipalities have the authority to issue sales licenses and permits. Some of the laws that you need to know and navigate as a business owner who wishes to sell alcohol are:

Colorado’s liquor license laws can be enforced by both state and local law enforcement agencies who are authorized to perform compliance checks and investigate potential violations. As is the case in many states, Colorado liquor laws are constantly changing. The best way to successfully navigate them as a business owner is by working with a Colorado liquor license lawyer who specializes in this practice area in Denver.

Transferring a Liquor License to a New Owner

Colorado has special laws for the transfer of a liquor license to a new owner. If you plan on selling your business, you can transfer the license to the new owner, but you must do so within the confines of state and local laws. Generally, the buyer submits an application for a temporary liquor license to avoid an interruption to the sale of liquor at the business pending a transfer. Then, you will submit an application for a modification of premises by the applicable time limit.

If the change in company ownership results in the purchase or sale of at least 10 percent of your business, you must notify your state and local liquor licensing authorities. Our Colorado liquor license attorneys can help with liquor license transfers that are part of the sale or merger of a business, a change in leadership structure, a joint venture with a partner, or business foreclosure or bankruptcy. We can submit paperwork on your behalf and ensure compliance with all relevant Colorado liquor laws.

Maintaining Compliance and Avoiding Violations

Once obtained, liquor licenses must be properly maintained. They are far easier to lose than they are to acquire. Our firm offers practical advice on how to maintain compliance and avoid potential violations. Some of the most common violations that are committed – both knowingly and unknowingly – by business owners are:

  • Expired liquor licenses
  • Sales to minors (under the age of 21)
  • Underage employees
  • Sales to visibly intoxicated individuals
  • Failure to furnish or maintain accurate books and records
  • Unlawful use of a liquor license
  • Permittance of indecent displays or activities
  • The sales of food outside of the license requirements
  • Unhygienic conditions for the service of alcohol

Liquor license violations can lead to suspension or revocation, which in turn can threaten the vitality of the business. At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., in addition to assisting clients with the initial licensing process and ongoing compliance, we also represent businesses facing any type of liquor license violation. We are skilled at advocating for clients at show-cause hearings to try to protect your license and investment.

What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of Violating Colorado’s Liquor Licensing Laws

Liquor license violations in Colorado can have civil and criminal consequences. It is critical to take any allegations of a violation seriously. If you suspect that a state or local licensing authority has placed you under investigation or your license has already been suspended or revoked, start protecting your rights immediately.

Contact one of our liquor licensing lawyers in Denver without delay. We will start your case by asking a few questions to better understand your situation:

 Who is Being Cited with the Liquor License Violation?

Violations can be given to both an individual and business. The consequences can vary significantly based on the alleged violator.

Why Did the Violation Occur?

If the citation is valid, you need to figure out why the violation happened and how you can prevent it in the future. For example, you may need to retrain your staff regarding how to check guest IDs.

What Do You Need to Do?

If you’re facing an administrative liquor license violation in Colorado, you will be required to attend a hearing. You will receive a letter titled, “Notice of Hearing and Order to Show Cause,” which invites you to a hearing where you can show cause as to why your liquor license should not be suspended.

What are Your Options?

You must understand your responsibilities, obligations and options if you’ve been cited with a liquor violation. You have rights, such as the right to hire a lawyer and take your case to trial to argue your side. You also have constitutional and civil rights that can be protected with assistance from a Colorado liquor license lawyer.

Your main goals in a liquor license violation case should be to protect yourself as an individual or business, know your legal options and how to navigate the process ahead, and demonstrate to the state or local liquor licensing authority that you have taken steps to address the problem. The attorneys at Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. can help you with all of these steps during a violation case, as well as ensure your future liquor license and liquor law compliance in Colorado.

Do All Liquor License Violations Go to Trial?

No. You may not have to go to trial if you’ve been accused of a liquor license violation with help from a lawyer. A Colorado liquor license lawyer can improve your ability to reach a resolution prior to your hearing. This can make resolving the legal issue easier for you or your business, as well as potentially save you time, money, stress and negative press from a lawsuit. Understanding your options and what forms of alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation and arbitration) are available to you can help you have more control over your future.

Defense Lawyers for Criminal Liquor Violations in Colorado

One of the benefits of trusting Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. with your case is having access to business litigators and criminal defense lawyers at the same law firm. This is important if you’re facing criminal charges as well as civil penalties for an alleged liquor law violation in Colorado. During a criminal case, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that you committed the liquor license crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Our criminal defense lawyers can state your case and defend your rights with a tailored strategy suited for your unique case for optimal results.

Contact Us · Alcohol Law Attorneys in Denver, Westminster, Denver Tech Center, Breckenridge & Throughout Colorado

To learn more about our liquor license practice, including how to acquire new liquor licenses in Denver, Westminster, Denver Tech Center (DTC), and Breckenridge, as well as throughout the State of Colorado. Contact us by email or by phone.



Litigation is a journey. This is a journey we have taken with our clients a countless number of times. If you face the uncertainty, risk, fear, anger, or disbelief that comes with the prospect of going through a legal dispute, the law firm of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. will help you through it.