Millions of New Yorkers benefit from New York’s food assistance program. If you own a store that accepts SNAP benefits, you’re helping the many deserving families that qualify for these programs. When state officials accuse you of violating the rules, it can cause stress for you and for the customers who depend on you..
If you’re accused of a SNAP violation, you may lose the ability to accept SNAP benefits in your store. The government may also order you to pay a fine. You might even face criminal charges. Either way, you need to defend yourself, so that you can stay in business and get back to life and business as usual.
SNAP violation appeals
When you’re accused of a SNAP violation, the government might shut off your machines, so that you can’t accept SNAP payments. When that happens, you have options available to you. In most cases, you can appeal the suspension or revocation, but you must act quickly.
Making your case
To bring an appeal, you must demand it in writing with the director of the Administrative Review Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The demand gives the vital information about the case including the business name, contact information and dates in question. The owner of the business or their attorney must sign the request.
Filing an appeal involves preparing a brief. This document is usually about ten pages long. It outlines all of the ways that the government erred when they suspended your business’ participation in the SNAP program. The brief must explain the grounds for the appeal and include necessary supporting information.
The effect of an appeal
One positive thing about demanding an appeal is that it stays any administrative action. That means, if the state wants to suspend your participation in the SNAP program, they can’t make it effective until after the state decides your appeal. This allows your business to continue to operate while you take steps to prepare your case.
The reviewer’s decision
The reviewer makes their decision based on the written documentation that they have. This includes information from the government, information from the business and information submitted by third parties. This makes it critical to document your case in a clear way that the reviewing official can understand.
There are many different outcomes for an appeal. The reviewer might sustain the original suspension, but they can also overturn the suspension or issue a suspension of a shorter duration. They can issue a fine. In some cases, they might resolve the matter by giving only a warning letter.
Even if the state doesn’t arrive at the right answer using an administrative review, you also have the right to a judicial review. That means going in front of a judge. This can be helpful because the judge is from a separate unit of government. Their perspective might be very different than a person who decides an administrative review.
Why would I appeal?
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes government agencies make mistakes. When that happens, the results can devastate you and your family even in cases where you didn’t do anything wrong. Filing an appeal can help the government arrive at the truth, so that you can continue to do business.
You have a right to appeal if the government takes away your right to participate in the program or if they refuse to accept your application to participate in the first place. You can also appeal the imposition of a fine. There’s also grounds for appeal if the government forfeits your bond for any reason.
In most cases, you have only ten days to bring an appeal after you receive a SNAP violation letter. If you miss this time frame, your right to appeal may be lost forever. It’s critical that you contact us immediately, so that we can make sure you demand your appeal in the proper way and beat the deadline.
SNAP violation criminal charges
There are a number of criminal charges that can result from SNAP violation allegations. These allegations range from misdemeanors to serious felonies. They can bring jail times, fines and restitution.
If you’re facing criminal charges related to your SNAP violation, pursuing an appeal can be important to helping you defend yourself against the criminal charges. In addition, clearing yourself of criminal charges can help you plead your case to the board deciding your appeal. Both civil appeals and criminal charges are important matters that are critical for you to address in order to get back to life as normal.
How we can help
If you’re facing allegations of a SNAP violation, there are many ways that we can help. Working with experienced SNAP violation appeals attorneys can help you document your case and present it in the best possible way. We’ve done it before, and we know what the reviewer needs to see in order to make sense of your case.
Our team can help review the appropriate SNAP regulations as well as the allegations against you. We can see where the government fails to prove its case. Our team can work with you to document how you’ve complied with rules and regulations to show the reviewer that your participation in the SNAP program makes you an asset to the community.
When you bring an appeal, it’s important to carefully and methodically document all of the grounds for the appeal. Our team of SNAP appeal lawyers has the training and experience in legal writing to make the case concisely and in a convincing way. We can also help you prepare arguments for why one penalty might be more appropriate than another.
With so much on the line, we can help you prepare a strategy and the relevant appeals documents. We can make sure your appeal gets filed on time and with the right authority. Ultimately, we can help your business get back to business. If you’re facing allegations of a SNAP violation, please contact us today
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