In Florida, the liquor and alcohol industry is governed by a complex set of laws and regulations even the most astute observer would have a hard time keeping track of. The written statutes cannot address every potential set of circumstances a private party could face. To clarify the meaning and application of laws and regulations in relation to specific sets of circumstances, parties may petition for declaratory statements that offer authoritative direction.
Can I request a declaratory statement?
There are two requirements for requesting declaratory statements:
- The petitioner must have standing. In other words, they must be “substantially affected” by the law or rule in question. If you own a liquor store, bar, or otherwise trade in the alcohol industry, you likely have standing concerning issues before the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
- The petitioner must state the particular rule or law in question and explain how it applies to his or her situation. The information must be specific. If you are petitioning for a declaratory statement that applies to a vague situation, the Division may reject your request.
There are many situations in which it may be necessary to petition for a declaratory statement, from wine tastings to catered events to the establishment of new alcohol or tobacco products. Proceeding with a course of action without first seeking guidance from the state may result in costly consequences. A declaratory statement can provide you with peace of mind that you are taking the correct and lawful path to achieve your business goals.
If you are seeking legal guidance regarding declaratory statements or any liquor law issue in Florida, discuss your situation with an attorney who is experienced in this niche area of law.