Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file an appeal?

Notify the Appeals Board that you are appealing from a decision of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) by filing a document with the Board or completing the optional Notice of Appeal Form. The document may be in the form of a legal pleading or a letter which should:

  • be typewritten or word-processed;
  • state that an appeal is being filed;
  • state the specific questions to be considered by the Board on review;
  • include the name of the appellant, the registration and file numbers, and the date of the decision; and
  • state at least one ground for the appeal (i.e., a statement of why you believe the Department’s decision is wrong).

Please include the following information in the caption of all documents filed with the Appeals Board: your address, your State Bar number (if applicable), telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. Once you are assigned a case number (AB-XXXX) please put this number on all documents filed with the Board.

What form do I use?

The document may be in the form of a legal pleading or a letter or you can use the optional Notice of Appeal form.

What are the filing requirements?

  1. Serve appeal  to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board, either electronically to or by mail to 400 R St, Suite 320, Sacramento, CA 95811, along with proof of service (Proof of Service Form) showing the names and addresses of all the parties to whom you sent a copy, and the date it was sent;
  2. Send a copy of your appeal to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95834 (plus a copy of the proof of service that is attached to your original appeal document); and
  3. Send a copy of your appeal to any other parties involved in the matter (plus a copy of the proof of service).

What is the deadline to file an appeal?

The appeal document must be filed at the Appeals Board office within 40 days from the date of the Department’s decision (usually the date mailed to the recipient). However, if the Department’s decision states it is to be “effective immediately” or is a Decision Following Default, you must file an appeal within 10 days after the date of the Department’s decision. Documents not filed within these time limits are untimely and cannot be accepted by the Appeals Board (see Business and Professions Code sections 23080-23089).

An appeal to the board shall be deemed filed on the date it is received by the board electronically or by mail to the principal office; provided, however, an appeal mailed to the board by means of registered mail shall be deemed filed with the board on the date of the registry with the United States Post Office.

How much does it cost to file an appeal?

There is no charge for filing an appeal. However, you will be charged by the Department for administrative hearing transcripts and exhibits.

What happens if I missed the deadline to file an appeal?

The Appeals Board cannot consider appeals filed after the deadline (see Business and Professions Code §23081).

What happens if a Notice was sent to an old address and Notice was not received in a timely manner to file an appeal?

It is important for all licensees to keep their address current with ABC. All notices will be sent to the address ABC has on file, and no extension of time will be granted for failure of the licensee to have a correct address on file.

Can I handwrite my appeal, or does it have to be in typewritten form?

It is preferable for an appeal to be typewritten, but the Appeals Board will not reject an appeal if it is handwritten.

What happens after I file an appeal?

You will receive an acknowledgment letter from the Appeals Board notifying you that your appeal has been accepted and informing you of the next steps in the process.

What should be included in a brief?

Your brief is an extremely important part of the appeal process. Your brief should inform the Appeals Board why you believe the Department’s decision is in error. If you refer to testimony from the hearing before the Department, cite the page(s) in the written transcript where that testimony occurs.
In the subject/heading of your brief, please include your name, case number (AB-XXXX), address, telephone number, and email address. If you are represented by another person, please include your representative’s name, California Bar number (if applicable), telephone number, and email address.

What if I missed the deadline to file my brief?

All briefs must be received by the Board on or before the due dates. The Board may disregard late briefs. Failure to promptly file could result in insufficient time for the Board to fully read and consider all issues raised in the brief.

Can the hearing time or date be changed?

Hearings are scheduled once a month and begin at 10:00 a.m. If you have a conflict with your assigned date, the Board may continue the matter if good cause is shown and the Department does not object.

What if I need special accommodations at the hearing?

If you need special accommodations, please call the Board office at 916-445-4005 or notify the Board in writing at 400 R St, Suite 320, Sacramento, CA 95811 or to make your request. Please notify the Board at least five (5) days prior to the hearing if possible.

What will happen at the hearing?

At the hearing, the appellant will have a chance to explain the pertinent points raised in its appeal and to answer any questions the Board may have. An attorney for the Department will then have an opportunity to speak before the appellant gets the last word. The Board cannot hear witnesses or consider any evidence not included in the record on appeal.

Do I need a lawyer?

A lawyer is not required to appear before the Board. However, it is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel. An attorney may help you understand your rights and responsibilities in the administrative appeals process. Individuals who represent themselves may put themselves at risk of having their appeal dismissed due to lacking paperwork or missing a deadline. Neither the Board nor its staff may give you legal advice regarding your appeal. Find a licensed attorney in California.

What can I do to expedite the hearing of my case?

All matters are scheduled at the earliest available time.

What is the status of my case?

If you have a question about the status of your case, please call the Board’s office at 916-445-4005 or email us at

What if I want to cancel an appeal?

Please notify us of your desire to withdraw an appeal in writing at 400 R St, Suite 320, Sacramento, CA 95811 or via email at

When will I get a decision?

The Board will generally issue its decision within 30 days of the hearing and will serve you a copy by email.

What if I still do not agree with the decision?

Judicial review of the Board’s order may be obtained by filing a petition for writ of review with the California Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal (see Business and Professions Code §§23090 – 23090.7).

Who do I contact with questions regarding my appeal?

Please direct questions to the Board’s staff at 916-445-4005 or via email at

Where does the Appeals Board fit in with the overall Department of ABC disciplinary process?

This flowchart is a helpful guide to understand the steps of the ABC disciplinary process. Visit ABC’s penalty policy guidelines For more information. 

The following questions should be referred the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control:

How do I acquire an ABC license?
What happens if my ABC license has expired?
How do I post a complaint regarding a business that is in violation of an ABC license?
How do I complain about noise levels at a business with an ABC license in my neighborhood?

Contact the Department of ABC 

Where can I find information about teen alcohol use and alcohol abuse?