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California Underage Drinking Lawyer – Business And Professions Code 25662(a) BP

Do I Need To Find An Under Age Drinking Attorney?

If you are a parent and your child has been charged with an offense related to underage drinking, My Rights Law – Criminal & DUI Attorneys are here to help. A charge related to underage drinking or Minor-in-Possession—MIP—offenses may carry serious consequences and affect your child’s future since it is charged as a misdemeanor and becomes part of their permanent criminal record.

Therefore, you must fight this charge.

Under Age Drinking Lawyer

Speak with an experienced alcohol crimes lawyer at My Rights Law if you are facing an underage drinking charge. Our lawyers are skilled at helping Californians accused of violating underage drinking laws. We know what is at stake with criminal charges of this nature, including the potential impact on your driving privileges. For a free, confidential consultation contact My Rights Law’s criminal defense team at (888) 702-8882 or by filling out our secure web form.

California’s Minor-In-Possession Law

Like every state, California has a Minor-in-Possession—MIP—a law that prohibits any person under age 21 (the legal drinking age) from possessing alcohol on their person or in their car unless they are in the company of their parents. California’s MIP law also prohibits anyone under age 21 from purchasing beer, wine, or hard liquor. California’s MIP law explains that to be charged with this crime, the underage person must possess alcohol on a street or highway, in a public place, or in any place open to the public.

Elements Of The Offense

You must possess or constructively possess an alcoholic beverage, which is any beverage that contains over one-half of one percent of alcohol.[1] Constructive possession means exercising control over the alcoholic beverage even though you are not physically holding it. You can meet the possession requirement even if you have put the alcoholic beverage down nearby when you have the alcoholic beverage in a public place or on a street or highway.[2] You are not in violation of the offense if you are in a private home. But you may have violated another related offense.

Penalties For Underage Drinking

Although this section is only punishable by community service and a fine, a conviction of the charge becomes part of an underage individual’s permanent criminal record.

A first offense under California’s MIP Law is charged as a misdemeanor. It is punished by a fine of $250 and 24 to 32 hours of community service.

A second or subsequent violation is also charged as a misdemeanor. It is punished by a fine of not more than $500 and 36 to 48 hours of community service.

Defenses To Underage Drinking

Our criminal justice system presumes that you are innocent until proven guilty. The fact that you or your child has been arrested does not establish guilt for these crimes. Often, underage persons are accused of the crime of underage drinking when they were not in actual or constructive possession of the alcoholic beverage. Also, the police may have violated your constitutional rights. As a result of challenging the legality and propriety of every questionable aspect of the arrest event, we may be able to get your charges reduced or even ultimately dismissed. My Rights Law will assert and protect your valuable legal rights at every step of the process.

Making A 911 Call

California law provides that any underage person who calls 911 and reports that either themself or another person needs medical assistance due to alcohol consumption is immune from prosecution under the California MIP law.[3]

California law also requires that the underage person is the first person to make the 911 report. The law requires that the underage person who reported that another person required medical assistance remains on the scene with the other person until that medical assistance arrives and cooperates with medical and law enforcement personnel on the scene.

However, there is no immunity from criminal prosecution for any offense involving activities made dangerous by consuming alcoholic beverages, like a DUI offense.[4]

Other Possible Defenses

California’s MIP Law does not apply to possession by a person under age 21 who is delivering an alcoholic beverage at the request of any of the following persons:

  • Parent
  • Responsible adult relative
  • Any other adult designated by the parent or legal guardian

The law also does not apply if the possession occurs because of employment.[5] An underage person would have a complete defense if they were following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of a parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, or adult designee relating to the disposition of the alcoholic beverage.

Other Laws Related To Underage Drinking

California may also prosecute an underage person and impose penalties for violating other California laws as they apply to the event that resulted in the initial charge of underage possession. Adults may also be charged with offenses under California law when an underage drinking incident occurs.

My Rights Law work hard to meet our client’s legal objectives. If you or your child has been charged with any crime related to underage drinking, we can help.

Allowing Minors To Consume Alcohol In Your Home And Drive

California alcohol consumption law applies to a parent or legal guardian who allows an underage person (someone under age 18) to consume an alcoholic beverage or use a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian may be charged with a misdemeanor if they allow a legally intoxicated underage person to drive a vehicle and that underage person causes a traffic accident.

Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor – Penal Code 272 PC

A parent or legal guardian of any person under age 18 must exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control over their minor child. California Penal Code 272 PC makes it a misdemeanor for any adult to encourage any person under 18 years to violate California law.

Selling Or Furnishing Alcohol To A Minor – Business And Professions Code 25658(a) BP

Business And Professions Code 25658(a) BP states that every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Underage Drinking And Driving – Vehicle Code 23136 VC

California has the following two laws that provide civil and criminal penalties for underage drinking and driving:

  1. California “Zero Tolerance Law”—BAC .01% or higher
  2. California Underage Driving Law—BAC of .05% or greater

Both DUI laws apply to California drivers under 21 years of age, and both may result in a one-year suspension of a driver’s license. If an underage driver refuses to take a California DUI chemical test, their driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. Both laws may apply even if the driver’s driving is not impaired by alcohol. An underage driver violates these laws by driving with the required blood alcohol concentration—BAC. It does not matter if the underage driver is not impaired.

Underage drivers who fail a blood alcohol test and have a BAC of .08 or higher may also be charged with violating California Vehicle law (driving while under the influence of alcohol) and violating California Vehicle Code (driving with a BAC of .08 or higher).

Carrying Alcohol In A Motor Vehicle – Vehicle Code 23221 VC

California Vehicle Code 23221 VC prohibits any underage person from driving any motor vehicle knowing carrying any alcoholic beverage, unless the person is accompanied by a parent, responsible adult relative, any other adult designated by the parent, or legal guardian to transport an alcoholic beverage, and is driving the motor vehicle during regular hours and in the course of the person’s employment.

Public Drunkenness – Penal Code 647(f) PC

California Penal Code 647(f) PC makes it an offense if you are found intoxicated or under the influence of drugs in a public place and unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others.

Experienced Underage Drinking Defense Attorneys

A conviction for violation of any California laws related to underage drinking will become a teenager’s permanent criminal record. Any potential schools and employers will have access to this criminal record to make future background checks.

My Rights Law know how important a case is to you. Our criminal defense lawyers can help you and your child with an underage drinking charge. Our law firm has unsurpassed experience negotiating with prosecutors to get charges like these reduced. We will fight to get these charges dismissed.

My Rights Law will protect your legal rights. For a free consultation about the details of your case, contact the experienced attorneys at My Rights Law immediately by calling us at (888) 702-8882  or through our secure web form.

FOOTNOTES
[1] Business and Professions Code 23004
[2] Jury Instructions CALCRIM No. 2960
[3] Business and Professions Code 25567(a)(1)
[4] Business and Professions Code 25567(b)
[5] Business and Professions Code 25562(a)

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Neckole S.
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