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Municipal Code

Chapter 9. Licenses and Permits

Sec. 9-34. Revocation and suspension of licenses; nonrenewal.

Policy and procedure for disciplinary actions relative to all retail intoxicating liquor and/or fermented malt beverage licenses, operator's licenses, agents, and other licenses and permits authorized in section 9-24 shall be as follows:

(1) License investigations. The following may initiate requests for investigations before the committee which may result in orders, suspensions, nonrenewals, delay in license issuance or revocation:

  1. The mayor;
  2. The council;
  3. The committee;
  4. The State of Wisconsin;
  5. An alderman;
  6. The police chief;
  7. The fire chief;
  8. The building services supervisor;
  9. The city attorney;
  10. Any city resident, by written complaint pursuant to § 125.12 Wis. Stats.

(2) Requests for investigations. Requests for investigations shall be in writing, to the city clerk and shall contain a brief statement of the alleged misconduct. The request shall be forwarded by the requesting party to the city clerk who shall place such request on the council agenda for referral to the committee or directly on the committee agenda with the permission of the committee chairperson. The city clerk or the committee secretary shall issue a summons requiring the licensee to attend the committee meeting at which the matter will be received. Documents which form a basis for a request for an investigation shall be available for the inspection of the licensee.

  1. The committee shall comply with the procedural requirements of § 125.12 Wis. Stats. and may reconsider any evidence or argument presented or made before it, whether or not obtained in or related to the written request for an investigation.
  2. The committee, upon requesting and receiving a recommendation from the city attorney's office, shall recommend to the council:
    1. That no action be taken;
    2. That the license be suspended, not renewed or revoked following statutory notice and opportunity to be heard, where the criteria for such action in subsection (4) of this section is met;
    3. That an order be issued and served upon the licensee requiring that certain action be taken as a condition of maintaining such license and providing notice that revocation may be the penalty for failure to strictly comply with the letter and spirit thereof; or
    4. That where the licensee leases or holds the licensed premises under a land contract, the license be transferred to the owner of the licensed premises in accordance with section 9-30(4).
  3. The committee shall have the obligation of notifying the licensee of any further proceedings before the council.
  4. The council may affirm, deny or modify any recommendations of the committee.

(3) Criteria for license revocation, nonrenewal or suspension. Any retail licensee who, within two consecutive license terms, equals or exceeds a total of 100 demerit points for the below-described conduct committed by the licensee, or employee or agent thereof, whether or not charged and/or convicted, shall have their license subject to revocation, nonrenewal or suspension, within the discretion of the council:

  1. Five demerit points for the first violation of each of the following within two consecutive license years:
    1. Violation of chapter 125 Wis. Stats. and/or this article governing hours of permitted operation.
    2. Violation of chapter 125 Wis. Stats., and/or this article with respect to the required posting and display of the license.
    3. Violation of chapter 125 Wis. Stats. and/or this article with respect to the quantity of liquor permitted to be sold.
  2. Twenty-five demerit points, except as provided in subsections (3)(a) and (3)(c) of this section:
    1. Violation of chapter 125 Wis. Stats.
    2. Violation of this article.
    3. Filing of an untrue, incorrect and/or incomplete application in violation of section 9-26.
    4. Violation of a state or federal misdemeanor criminal gambling law or knowingly permitting any such violation.
    5. Violation of any state misdemeanor criminal law or city ordinance prohibiting the use of marijuana or possession thereof with or without intent to sell or knowingly permitting any person to commit such violation.
    6. A conviction for a criminal violation of § 346.63 Wis. Stats. relating to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, or with a blood alcohol concentration greater than or equal to 0.10 percent.
  3. For violations of section 9-32(2), and state statutes related to service of minors and minors on business premises, demerit points shall be assessed as follows:
    1. Twenty-five demerit points for the first offense.
    2. Fifty demerit points for the second and subsequent offenses.
    3. Demerit points for violation of section 9-32(2) and state statutes related to service of minors and minors on business premises may be reduced by ten demerit points, upon evidence of adequate good faith measures intended to prevent such violations. The defenses to such violation provided at § 125.07(6) Wis. Stats. shall apply to alleged violations under this section.
    4. Violations of section 9-32(2) and state statutes related to service of minors and minors on licensed premises arising from a single or a closely related incident shall not be charged as multiple violations. It is intended by this subsection that violations by two or more persons in the same party or group, or two or more violations at the same time and place by one individual shall be considered a single incident, but multiple violations by unconnected individuals at the same time and place may be considered as separate violations.
    5. Uncorroborated testimony by a minor accused of a violation of the provisions of section 9-45 of this section, or the equivalent state statutes, shall not be deemed sufficient evidence of a violation of section 9-32(2) or 9-33(4).
  4. Fifty demerit points shall be given for the following:
    1. Obstruction of any law enforcement officer or knowingly permitting any person to engage in such conduct.
    2. Violation of an order of the council.
    3. Failing to appear before the committee or council when ordered to do so upon personal service of such notice at least 3 days prior to the scheduled appearance.
  5. One hundred demerit points shall be given for the following:
    1. Violation of any state or federal criminal law prohibiting the sale, trafficking in or possessing with intent to sell of marijuana or any controlled substance, or knowingly permitting any person to commit such violation.
    2. A conviction for a violation of state or federal criminal law which is a felony if the circumstances of the charge substantially relate to the circumstances of the licensed activity.
  6. Discretionary demerit points. Nonscheduled offenses shall be the subject of such number of demerit points as designated by the council, within its discretion.
  7. No violation may be considered for purposes of this section unless the licensee committed another violation within one year preceding the violation.  However, if the applicant committeed 2 or more violations within one year, all violations committed within one year of a previous violation may be considered for purposes of considering point accumulation during two consecutive license terms.
  8. Regardless of point accumulation under this Chapter, a license revocation, nonrenewal or suspension may be exercised for any reason authorized under Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin Statutes or this Chapter.
  9. The Judiciary, License and Cemetery Committee shall have the discretion to reduce demerit points assessed for a specific violation at a hearing under 9-34(9), including but not limited to undercover compliance checks.

(4) Automatic revocation. A license accruing 100 demerit points or more during two license periods shall be subject to revocation as a matter of course, absent compelling mitigating factors. If the council shall determine that such factors exist, it shall refer the matter to the committee for recommendation regarding a probationary period of continuation for the license holder. The committee, after consultation with the police department, city attorney and such other persons the committee deems appropriate, may recommend probationary provisions to the council, which shall be deemed sufficient to ensure future compliance with state statutes and this article. Pending such recommendation and further action by the council, the license shall be suspended, unless the council shall determine such suspension would result in extreme and undue hardship.

(5) Effect of charge dismissed.   A dismissal of a criminal charge or civil forfeiture case on a violation which is also the subject of demerit points shall not, as a matter of law, nullify such charge for the purpose of review herein due to the differing burdens of proof and procedural requirements.

(6) Delay in license issuance. Any person or party who performs a licensed activity without first having obtained a proper license, or who, during a period of license suspension, or who, after license revocation or nonrenewal, unlawfully engages in a licensed activity, shall be barred from applying for the required license for a period of six months from the date of such offense.

(7) New licenses granted subject to demerit points. New licenses may be granted subject tosuch number of demerit points or other conditions as the council, in its discretion, may deem appropriate, irrespective of the nature of the offense, where the council has concern as to the arrest and conviction record, moral character and business responsibility of the applicant, which is insufficient for license denial.

(8) Time for action. Disciplinary action need not be commenced and completed in the same license year as the offense occurred. Where disciplinary actions are not commenced and completed within a license term, a license shall be granted subject to a "nonrenewal revocation hearing," to be held as soon as is practical.

(a)  For offenses committed within the City of Marshfield under this Chapter, disciplinary action shall be commenced within 60 days of an offense which gives rise to the disciplinary action.  If no action is taken within 60 days of the offense giving cause for the disciplinary action, no complaint based solely on that offense may be the basis for disciplinary action.

(9) Disciplinary hearings. Disciplinary hearings, including nonrenewal, suspension and revocation hearings, shall be held before the committee, which shall submit a report to the council, including findings of fact, and a recommendation as to what action, if any, the council should take with respect to the license. The committee shall provide the complainant and the licensee with a copy of the report. Either the complainant or licensee may make an objection, orally or in writing, to the report and shall have the opportunity to present arguments supporting the objection to the council. The council shall determine whether the arguments shall be presented orally or in writing, or both. If the council, after considering the committee's report and any arguments presented by the complainant and licensee, finds the complaint to be true, or if there is not objection to a report recommending a suspension, revocation or nonrenewal, the license shall be suspended, revoked or not renewed as provided by law. If the council finds the complaint untrue, the proceedings shall be dismissed without cost to the accused. The city clerk shall give notice of each suspension, revocation or nonrenewal to the party whose license is affected.

(10) Judgment of conviction, as prima facie proof of violation. The judgment of conviction of any licensee, or employee or agent thereof, in any municipal, state or federal court, irrespective of whether obtained following a plea agreement, or bond forfeiture, shall be prima facie proof of such violation for purposes of this article. However, in the instance of any judgment of conviction entered pursuant to a no contest plea, or considered in law to be rendered pursuant to a no contest plea, such judgment of conviction as a prima facie case may be rebutted. Further, mitigating circumstances may be introduced with respect to any judgment of conviction.

(11) Application for determination of demerit points. Any licensee or party entitled to initiate a request for an investigation under subsection (1) of this section may at any time request the committee or the council to determine whether or not conduct which has occurred constitutes a basis for demerit points and a report of outstanding demerit points. Any licensee may appeal imposition of demerit points by written application for hearing to the committee. Hearings concerning such appeals shall be conducted as provided at § 125.12 Wis. Stats. and this article.

(12) Violations by agents or employees. A violation of this article by an authorized agent or employee of a licensee acting in the course of his or her employment shall constitute a violation by the licensee. The licensee shall be notified of such violation by copy of the citation, or other written notice personally served or mailed to the licensee at the licensed premises.

(13) Commencement of penalties. Penalties shall commence the day after they have been imposed by the council. Days of suspension shall run consecutively.

(14) Periodic reports by police chief. The police chief shall file periodic reports with the city clerk of conduct by any licensee, or employees thereof, which may constitute a basis for demerit points. The city clerk shall provide each licensee with a summary of demerit points affecting the license annually at the time an application for renewal is received, or upon request. The committee, at license renewal time, or at any earlier time deemed appropriate may bring such matters to the attention of the city attorney and make a request for a recommendation on disciplinary action.

(15) Exceptions. This section shall apply to operator's licenses, except accrual of 50 or more demerit points shall constitute grounds for revocation of an operator's permit.

(Code 1982, 12.03(14); Ord. No. 1120, 1, 12-18-2007; Ord. No. 1185, 1 - 15, 12-21-2010)