Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Enforcement.


§ 25–801. Authority of the Board to enforce this title; enforcement responsibilities of ABRA investigators and Metropolitan Police Department.

(a) The Board shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this title with respect to licensees and with respect to any person not holding a license and selling alcohol in violation of the provisions of this title.

(b) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, ABRA investigators and the Metropolitan Police Department shall issue citations for civil violations of this title that are set forth in the schedule of civil penalties established under § 25-830.

(c) A citation for any violation for which the penalty includes the suspension of a license shall be issued under the direct authority of the Board as a result of an investigation carried out by ABRA investigators.

(d) Prosecutions for misdemeanors under this title shall be prosecuted and initiated by information filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel. Prosecutions for felonies under this title shall be prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

(e) Violations committed by an unlicensed person selling alcohol in violation of the provisions of this title shall be forwarded by the Board to the Corporation Counsel for prosecution.

(f) ABRA investigators may request and check the identification of a patron inside of or attempting to enter an establishment with an alcohol license. ABRA investigators may seize evidence that substantiates a violation under this title, which shall include seizing alcoholic beverages sold to minors and fake identification documents used by minors.

(g) ABRA investigators may seize a liquor license from an establishment if:

(1) The liquor license has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled by the Board;

(2) The business is no longer in existence; or

(3) The business has been closed by another District government agency.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, § 101(dd), 51 DCR 6525; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-270, § 2(f)(1), 62 DCR 1866.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-270 added (g).


§ 25–802. Examination of premises, books, and records.

(a) An applicant for a license, and each licensee, shall allow any member of the Board, any ABRA investigator, or any member of the Metropolitan Police Department full opportunity to examine, at any time during business hours:

(1) The premises where an alcoholic beverage is manufactured, kept, sold, or consumed for which an application for a license has been made or for which a license has been issued; and

(2) The books and records of the business for which an application for a license has been made or for which a license has been issued.

(b) ABRA investigators shall examine the premises and books and records of each licensed establishment in the District at least once each year. The investigators shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the licensee will know in advance the date of the inspection.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-101.


§ 25–803. Search warrants for illegal alcoholic beverages; disposition of seized beverages.

If a search warrant is issued by any judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or by a United States Magistrate for the District of Columbia for premises where any alcoholic beverages are manufactured for sale, kept for sale, sold, or consumed in violation of this title, the alcoholic beverages and any other property designed for use in connection with the unlawful manufacture for sale, keeping for sale, selling, or consumption may be seized and shall be subject to such disposition as the court may make thereof.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 334, ch. 4, § 29; Apr. 1, 1942, 56 Stat. 190, ch. 207, § 1; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 104, ch. 159, § 404(i); July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-803.

1973 Ed., § 25-129.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-911.


§ 25–804. Notifications from DCRA, Fire Department, and Metropolitan Police Department.

(a) In accordance with procedures that the Mayor shall establish, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Fire Department shall promptly notify the Board if a licensed establishment is the subject of a citation or other enforcement action for a violation of laws or regulations enforced by these departments.

(b) If a licensed establishment is the subject of an incident report by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Metropolitan Police Department shall file a copy of the incident report with the Board. The Board shall make the report available for public inspection upon request.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 330, ch. 4, § 17; Aug. 27, 1935, 49 Stat. 900, ch. 756, § 9; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 803, ch. 766, § 3; Apr. 26, 1950, 64 Stat. 88, ch. 106; Dec. 8, 1970, 84 Stat. 1393, Pub. L. 91-535, § 3(a); Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 9, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(5), 30 DCR 5927; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 11, 34 DCR 907; Sept. 11, 1993, D.C. Law 10-12, § 2(b), 40 DCR 4020; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(h), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 30, 1998, D.C. Law 12-97, § 2, 45 DCR 1517; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-804.

1973 Ed., § 25-118.


§ 25–805. Nuisance.

(a) Any building, ground, or premises where an alcoholic beverage is manufactured, sold, kept for sale, or permitted to be consumed in violation of this title shall be a nuisance.

(b) An action to enjoin any nuisance defined in subsection (a) of this section may be brought in the name of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel in the Civil Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia against any person conducting or maintaining such nuisance or knowingly permitting such nuisance to be conducted or maintained.


(Jan. 24, 1934, ch. 4, § 41; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 104, ch. 159, § 404(j); July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-805.

1973 Ed., § 25-139.