Code of the District of Columbia

§ 25–301. General qualifications for all applicants.

(a) Before issuing, transferring to a new owner, or renewing a license, the Board shall determine that the applicant meets all of the following criteria:

(1) The applicant is of good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure.

(2) The applicant is at least 21 years of age.

(3)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the applicant has not been convicted of a felony in the 10 years before filing the application.

(B) An applicant for a solicitor's license or manager's license has not been convicted of a felony in the 5 years before filing the application.

(4) The applicant has not been convicted of any misdemeanor bearing on fitness for licensure in the 5 years before filing the application.

(5) Except in the case of an application for a solicitor’s or manager’s license, the applicant is the true and actual owner of the establishment for which the license is sought, and he or she intends to carry on the business for himself or herself and not as the agent of any other individual, partnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation not identified in the application.

(6) The licensed establishment will be managed by the applicant in person or by a Board-licensed manager.

(7) The applicant has complied with all the requirements of this title and regulations issued under this title.

(a-1) To determine whether an applicant for a new license meets the criteria of subsection (a)(1) of this section, the Board shall examine records, covering the last 10 years from the date of application, maintained by ABRA regarding prior violations of the District’s alcohol laws and regulations by the applicant or establishments owned or controlled by the applicant.

(b) Notwithstanding § 47-2861(1)(B), the Board shall not issue a license or permit to an applicant if the applicant has failed to file required District tax returns or owes more than $ 100 in outstanding debt to the District as a result of the items specified in § 47-2862(a)(1) through (9), subject to the exceptions specified in § 47-2862(b).

(c) To determine whether an applicant for a new retailer or wholesaler license meets the criteria of subsection (a)(3) and (4) of this section, the Board may obtain criminal history records of criminal convictions maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Metropolitan Police Department. The Board shall:

(1) Inform the applicant that a criminal background check will be conducted;

(2) Obtain written approval from the applicant to conduct a criminal background check;

(3) Coordinate with the Metropolitan Police Department to obtain a set of qualified fingerprints from the applicant; and

(4) Obtain any additional identifying information from the applicant that is required for the Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to complete a criminal background check.

(c-1) The Board, in its discretion, may approve an application for a solicitor's license or manager's license for an applicant who has been convicted of a felony within 5 years of applying for the solicitor's or manager's license if the Board determines that the offense does not have a bearing on the applicant's fitness for licensure.

(d) The Board shall coordinate with the Metropolitan Police Department to adopt procedures necessary to facilitate the objectives of subsections (c) and (c-1) of this section.

(e) The fingerprint card shall not be maintained by the Board or by the Metropolitan Police Department and shall be returned to the applicant after the completion of the criminal background check.

(f) Once notified, the Board shall seal, set aside, expunge, and otherwise maintain any record received pursuant to this section so that the record is in compliance with any order issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia pursuant to a sealing, set aside, or expungement statute, including Chapter 8 of Title 16 and Chapter 9 of Title 24. Once notified, the Board shall also seal, set aside, expunge, and otherwise maintain any record received pursuant to this section so that the record is in compliance with any court order or official government request or statement from the jurisdiction that is the source of that record.

(g) The Board shall maintain the confidentiality of any information returned from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and use such information only for the purpose of determining whether the applicant satisfies the criteria set forth in subsection (a)(3) and (4) of this section.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 327, ch. 4, § 14; Aug. 25, 1937, 50 Stat. 802, 803, ch. 766, §§ 1, 2; June 15, 1938, 52 Stat. 691, ch. 396, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 103, ch. 159, § 404(e), (f); Aug. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 616, Pub. L. 90-450, title IV, § 404; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-146, § 4, 27 DCR 4753; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 8, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 8, 1984, D.C. Law 5-51, § 2(b)(4), (c), 30 DCR 5927; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-97, § 2, 31 DCR 2556; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 9, 34 DCR 907; June 5, 1987, D.C. Law 7-7, § 2, 34 DCR 2640; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(b), (c), 39 DCR 5859; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(f), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(q)(2), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 13-39, § 2, 46 DCR 6548; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-192, § 1012(a), 53 DCR 6899; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 132, 56 DCR 1117; Nov. 6, 2010, D.C. Law 18-259, § 6, 57 DCR 5591; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(i), 60 DCR 3410; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-270, § 2(b)(1), 62 DCR 1866; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(c)(1), 65 DCR 9366.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-301.

1973 Ed., § 25-115.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-316, § 25-402, § 25-405, § 25-406, and § 25-410.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-192 designated subsec. (a); and added subsec. (b).

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in subsec. (b).

D.C. Law 18-259 added subsecs. (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 added (a-1).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-270 designated the existing text as (a); and added (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(a) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-477, August 8, 2006, 53 DCR 7068).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(a) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-499, October 23, 2006, 53 DCR 8845).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1012(a) of Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-1, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1165).

For temporary addition of (a-1), see § 2(i) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(i) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).