5502.19 Department of public safety inspections of retail liquor permit premises.

The department of public safety shall conduct inspections of retail liquor permit premises to determine their compliance with Chapters 4301. and 4303. of the Revised Code and the rules adopted under them by the liquor control commission pertaining to retail liquor permit holders.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, those inspections may be conducted only during those hours in which the permit holder is open for business and only by authorized enforcement agents of the department of public safety or by any peace officer, as defined in section 2935.01 of the Revised Code. Inspections may be conducted at other hours only to determine compliance with laws or commission rules that regulate the hours of sale of beer and intoxicating liquor and only if the enforcement agent or peace officer involved has reasonable cause to believe that those laws or rules are being violated. Any inspection conducted pursuant to this section is subject to all of the following requirements:

(A) The only property that may be confiscated is contraband, as defined in section 2901.01 of the Revised Code, or property that is otherwise necessary for evidentiary purposes.

(B) A complete inventory of all property confiscated from the premises shall be given to the permit holder or the permit holder's agent or employee by the confiscating enforcement agent or peace officer at the conclusion of the inspection. At that time, the inventory shall be signed by the confiscating enforcement agent or peace officer, and the enforcement agent or peace officer shall give the permit holder or the permit holder's agent or employee the opportunity to sign the inventory.

(C) Inspections conducted pursuant to this section shall be conducted in a reasonable manner. A finding by any court of competent jurisdiction that the inspection was not conducted in a reasonable manner in accordance with this section or any rules promulgated by the liquor control commission may be considered grounds for suppression of evidence. A finding by the liquor control commission that the inspection was not conducted in a reasonable manner in accordance with this section or any rules promulgated by the commission may be considered grounds for dismissal of the commission case.

If any court of competent jurisdiction finds that property confiscated as the result of an inspection is not necessary for evidentiary purposes and is not contraband, as defined in section 2901.01 of the Revised Code, the court shall order the immediate return of the confiscated property, if such property is not otherwise subject to forfeiture, to the permit holder. However, the return of this property is not grounds for dismissal of the case. The commission likewise may order the return of confiscated property if no criminal prosecution is pending or anticipated.

Cite as R.C. § 5502.19

History. Effective Date: 06-30-1999