bar and stools
(credit: Gastronomic SLC)


The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services is primarily a retailing and licensing agency, not a law enforcement bureau. Investigation and enforcement of Utah's alcohol laws are the primary responsibilities of:

These agencies may conduct on-the-spot inspections or undercover investigations to determine if there are any violations of the liquor laws or if everything is good to go.

Read more information for Residents & Visitors.


If law enforcement discovers a possible violation of Utah alcohol law, they may refer the matter to a local prosecutor for the possible filing of criminal charges and/or they may refer the case to DABS and local licensing bureaus for possible action on a license. Once DABS receives a referral from a law enforcement agency, it will be determined whether administrative action on the license is warranted. DABS will:

  • Screen the police report to determine whether administrative action is warranted based on state laws and rules.
  • Determine the severity of the alleged violation(s).
  • Initiate an administrative proceeding to determine whether a violation in fact, occurred.

The DABS procedure for processing violations is outlined in the Utah Administrative Code, also known as "rules." See the DABS violations guide for a step-by-step process of the disciplinary proceedings.

Violations are divided by types: minor, moderate, serious, and grave based on their relative degree of severity. Violation descriptions are found in the violation grid.

Most cases are settled before going to a hearing. Generally, cases that go to a hearing are heard by an independent, outside hearing officer who issues findings and makes recommendations to the Alcoholic Beverage Services Commission to then take final action. The commission may also, under certain circumstances, act as hearing officer. In its final action, the commission may fine the licensee, suspend or revoke the license, or order the forfeiture of the license and compliance bond. The commission may also order the offending employee be suspended from serving alcohol for any department licensee for a period of time.