Felons and Florida Liquor Licenses
Can you get a liquor license if you have a felony?
Yes! Read on to find out how.

Opening your own restaurant or bar can be a huge step toward improving your life, but many people who have a felony on their record fear that they will never be able to realize this dream because they believe felons can’t obtain a liquor license in the state of Florida.

Fortunately, while there are a lot of obstacles to overcome after being released from jail, getting a liquor license, though more difficult for someone with a felony, is not impossible.


If you have ever been charged with a felony or even faced a conviction, you may still be able to obtain a liquor license in the State of Florida. Learn about how your record could impact the license application process and understand that you have options when you work with the team at Liquor License Outlet.

Under Florida law, a felony does not usually prevent an individual from getting a business license or even a liquor license. When you fill out the application, just as with any other application, you must detail your offense and how it led to a criminal investigation, then the governing body will evaluate your application and determine whether they want to issue the license or not. To obtain the permit, you must meet a specific set of requirements proving that you are currently an individual of good moral character. In addition to that, however, you must be a taxpayer and a legal voter to be considered.


Florida’s beverage law is responsible for creating an industry governed by tight regulations, mainly the Department of Business and Professional Regulation administrative code section 61A-1.017, which demands the applicant be of good moral character. This is where the limitation for felons comes into play: Florida will not issue a liquor license to any individual who was convicted of a felony in the last fifteen years. While this might seem like an insurmountable obstacle, remember that it is only time and it is better to wait out this time limit than to risk the second-degree misdemeanor charge that comes with operating unlicensed.

Felon getting a Florida liquor license
Most felony convictions are ignored by licensing boards if you have remained out of trouble for five or
more years. This means that a felon can qualify for a Florida liquor license

Alongside the time requirement, keep in mind that individuals who have had their license revoked due to a law violation involving the sale of liquor may not hold a license again in their lifetime. Finally, other factors that could stop an individual from obtaining a liquor license include:

  • Acts of Fraud/Deceit
  • Mental Instability
  • Emotional Instability
  • Drug/Alcohol Dependency

If you are a felon applying for a liquor license in the state of Florida, the most important thing you can do is demonstrate honesty. Attempting to hide your criminal background could bring additional charges against you, and further distance you from your ability to obtain a license. If after meeting these requirements, you find that you are still having trouble, there are still a few things you can try.


Many forms of licensing in the United States require that an applicant have good moral character. Florida liquor licensing is not unique in this regard. There are some things that will essentially ‘blacklist’ you from being able to obtain a license. However, these usually come with time limitations. This means that even if you committed an offense in the past, rebuilding your life and restoring your reputation could make it possible to apply for or purchase a Florida liquor license.

You will not be able to immediately apply for a license if you:

  • Committed a crime in the previous five years in the United States or abroad that is punishable by a prison term exceeding one year.
  • The committed unlawful battery within the last five years, unless found not guilty by a court.
  • Engaged in any form of fraud in the previous five years, unless found not guilty by a court.
  • Owned or managed a business that had its liquor license revoked for violation of criminal law.

Note that your license can be reviewed at any time. If you are found to breach moral standards, your license could be revoked.


Can't Felons Obtain A Liquor License? Find out from our experts 
Find out from our experts if you can obtain a Liquor License in Florida

One of the routes you can take if you are running into problems getting a liquor license involves having your criminal record expunged. In certain circumstances, this works and allows you to state on any application that you have never been convicted of a crime. This process starts with documenting any educational programs you have been a part of as well as any training you have completed. These classes show that you have an interest in bettering yourself and that you are trying to be a person of good moral character as defined by the state.

During the process, you should seek support from family and friends as well as current and former employers who can give you useful references and speak to your character. While a felony may be a black mark on your record, it does not preclude anyone from moving on to live an honest life.

As you move forward in your attempt to obtain a liquor license, it is important to know which type of license you want to get and most importantly, what kind of establishment you will be running. The following are a few of the liquor license types that you could be pursuing in the coming months.


Anyone who is looking to obtain a liquor license should know which types are available and what they apply to. Common examples of liquor licenses across states include:

  • Wholesale/Supplier
  • On-Site Sales
  • Manufacturer/Brewer
  • Special

Typically, when people think of a liquor license, they are thinking of on-site sales, or rather, the license that allows them to open a permanent establishment. Common examples of this include.


Depending on the county you may need to offer a food menu, and if that is the case, then 50% of your sales must come from food. As far as a tavern is concerned, you need to check with the rules and regulations of the county you live in to determine whether or not you must serve food, however serving food is always a requirement if you are running a restaurant.

  • Beer and Wine
  • Gas stations often use this type of license as it allows for the sale of beer and wine but not spirits.
  • Club

This kind of license falls into several different categories starting with country clubs and golf clubs. These are two examples, but you can rest assured that there are many more. A country club, for instance, can have a bar, but it needs a separate liquor license for that allowance.

Can't Felons Obtain A Liquor License? Find out from our experts
Can’t Felons Obtain A Liquor License? Find out from our experts

A felony doesn’t have to be the end of your business endeavors. Starting now, begin seeking out ways to prove your moral fiber and research the different types of liquor licenses along with the rules and guidelines you must follow to obtain one. If you need any help along the way, please contact our friendly and professional team.

Liquor License Outlet can help you to find the ideal license for your business needs. We offer small business loans for financing and can help broker deals for quota licenses sold on the private market.

Talk to us now if you’re looking to buy a liquor license in Florida.


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