2333 Randolph Road

Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28207

(704) 376-3200

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ABC Compliance

Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo fills a highly technical niche across the state of North Carolina and in the Charlotte community, providing specialized services in the area of ABC law. North Carolina provides uniform control over the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages. The Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (known as the “ABC Commission”) is an agency within the NC Department of Public Safety. Local jurisdiction over these activities is maintained by county and municipal ABC Boards, which have the authority to set policy and adopt rules as long as they conform with the ABC laws and State Commission rules. It is a complex and intertwined system of regulation.


We recognize that these are challenging times and information is changing, it seems, momentarily.  Permitted establishments can find updated information regarding the Governor’s Executive Order 118 referencing alcohol sales by visiting the NC ABC Commission website as follows:


ABC / Alcohol Licensing and Compliance

Whether it is a new business entering the service industry, an established restaurant or bar that is looking to expand, or an organization looking to host a special event where alcohol is served, Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo can provide the needed guidance, knowledge and skills.

Our Charlotte based ABC Specialists have over 20 years of experience practicing in the area of ABC law.  They have represented numerous permit holders.  The firm’s clients include restaurants, bars, distillers, craft breweries, and some of the largest stadiums and amphitheaters in North Carolina. From helping to structure and grow a business to securing permits, to defending violations of the regulations, Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo partners with its clients to guide them through all aspects of their relationship with the ABC Board.

A key man in the firm’s ABC practice is Bill Cox, the firm’s ABC case manager, and consultant. He is a former Chief of the Mecklenburg County ABC Law Enforcement.  Bill brings unparalleled knowledge and experience to the team and provides clients with exceptional consulting services in every aspect of ABC licensing.


Requirements for obtaining liquor licenses in North Carolina are stringent, and the process can be a bureaucratic nightmare. Daunting paperwork required staff training, and long unforeseen delays can run up operating costs and become a time-consuming source of frustration to business owners and managers.

Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo handles every aspect of that application process and helps businesses obtain permits with minimum hassle in the shortest possible time.

Incorporation Services

For new businesses or business ventures, Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo provides complete incorporation services to set up the corporation, LLC, or partnership in order to ensure the tusiness model complies with all ABC requirements.  Where needed, the firm also:

  • writes comprehensive operating agreements
  • provides lease consultations and recommendations for commercial leases
  • expedites the incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

Hearings and Petitions

Businesses in the alcohol sales and manufacture industry often need to appear in front of the ABC Commission in Raleigh to petition for special consideration or answer alleged violations.  Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo has been representing business clients before the ABC Board for over 20 years, petitioning the Commission for approval of physical premises extensions for ABC permits, waivers, special one-time permits, and variances from regulations.

Training and Violations

In order to avoid sanctions to the business, Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo provides employers with ABC education and training for employees and servers. This training may prevent ABC violations that can occur when staff are unaware of the laws and regulations relating to the retail sale and service of alcohol.  If an alcohol license violation does occur, the firm provides representation to the business in an effort to avoid suspension or revocation of an ABC permit and mitigate monetary penalties.  Additionally, the criminal defense team at Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo will ensure that the company or its staff has the best possible legal representation in the event of a criminal charge relating to ABC violations.

Last Call Summary Suspensions

In April 2010, the state ABC Commission announced the “Last Call” policy. The order allows the ABC Commission to impose an immediate suspension of ABC permits, without requiring a Commission vote.  That action is devastating to businesses that rely on alcohol sales for revenue and to attract customers.  Rawls, Scheer, Foster & Mingo treats “last call” suspensions as the emergency they are and will seek a quick resolution with the ACB Board.

Annual Retainer Services

Many businesses have on-going issues and needs regarding ABC matters.  Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo has many clients on annual retainer plans – flat annual fees – under which the firm provides the following services at no additional charge:

  • Hassle-free annual renewals for ABC permits
  • Corporate renewals with the North Carolina Secretary of State
  • Registered agent services
  • Consultations as issues arise

Qualifications for an ABC Permit in North Carolina

In North Carolina, there are several factors that go into whether the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission decides to issue an ABC permit to an individual or business. Clearly, if you are considering applying for a permit either for yourself or for a business interest, these are all things you need to consider beforehand. The following will describe the basic qualifications (or disqualifications, as the case may be) and considerations that the ABC Commission considers before issuing a permit. Qualifications for a Permit North Carolina law explicitly sets out the eligibility requirements for an individual to be eligible for and to receive an ABC permit. To be eligible, a person must:
  • Be 21 years of age unless the person is a manager of a business selling only malt beverages and unfortified wine in which case the person must be at least 19 years old
  • Be a resident of North Carolina unless they are an officer or director of the business and not responsible for day-to-day operations or has an executed power of attorney designating a qualified resident as attorney-in-fact for purposes of receiving service or managing the business
  • Not have been convicted of a felony within the past three years and if convicted prior to that, had citizenship restored
  • Not have been convicted of an alcoholic beverage offense within two years
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor controlled substance offense within two years
  • Not have had an ABC permit revoked within the last three years and
  • Not, as an individual, director or manager of a permittee have an unsatisfied outstanding judgment entered against him under Article 1A of Chapter 18A (involving compensation for injury caused by sales to underage persons).

Factors in Issuing a Permit

Besides the qualifications listed above, the ABC Commission also considers several factors in reaching a permit decision. To determine whether the applicant and the business location are suitable to be permitted, they consider:
  • The reputation, character and criminal record of the applicant
  • The number of places already holding ABC permits in the neighborhood
  • Parking facilities and traffic conditions in the neighborhood
  • Kinds of businesses already in the area
  • Whether the business is located within 50 feet of a church or school
  • Zoning laws
  • The recommendations of the local governing body and
  • Any other evidence that would tend to show whether the applicant would comply with the ABC laws and whether the operation of the business would be detrimental to the neighborhood.

Why Would I Need an ABC Attorney?

Setting aside the daunting aspect of the paperwork involved with the process, the tasks at hand can be a bureaucratic nightmare. Often unforeseen delays can cause your operating costs to increase and become a source of frustration for both owners and managers. Whether you’re opening a new business, expanding an existing business or hosting a special event, the ABC Department at Rawls, Scheer, Clary and Mingo, under the direction of attorney Eben Rawls, and our ABC Case Manager & Consultant, Bill Cox, can handle every aspect of the application process. We have the ability to see potential issues before they occur and the ability to navigate any issues that may pop up along the way. Our goal is to minimize any hassle to you and get your application process completed as quickly as possible. If you are considering an ABC permit in the Mecklenburg County or surrounding areas, give us a call at 704-376-3200 or click here to set up an initial consultation. We’re here to help!

Your privacy is important to us. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

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Your privacy is important to us. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.