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Furnishing or Selling Alcohol to a Minor

giving alcohol to minors
Selling or giving alcohol to a minor

Many adults feel providing alcohol to minors is not a big deal. Some parents allow their children to drink in their home or adults over the age of 21 may buy teenagers beer to look “cool.” These adults may think that they will never be caught or if they are, the punishment will be small and insignificant. However, furnishing (providing, giving away or selling) alcohol to a minor can result in jail time, fines and revocation of a professional license. If you or a loved one is facing a charge of selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor, it is important to retain an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney who will fight for you.

Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor – California Business and Professions Code Section 25658

California Business and Professions Code Section 256581 regulates the sale of alcohol in the state of California. Under Business and Professions Code Section 25658, it is illegal to do the following:

  1. Furnish (provide, give away or sell) or cause to be furnished, any alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21.
  2. Be a person under the age of 21 and purchase an alcoholic beverage or consume an alcoholic beverage in a place where alcohol is sold.
  3. Be an on-sale alcoholic beverage licensee and knowingly permit a person who is under the age of 21 to consume an alcoholic beverage on the premises, even if the licensee did not know that the person was under the age of 21.

One of the most common violations of California Business and Professions Code Section 25658 involves adults over the age of 21 purchasing alcohol for minors at grocery stores or liquor stores. Law enforcement have been known to conduct sting operations using minors or youthful-looking police officers as agents to arrest adults who purchase alcohol for the undercover agents.

When minors use fake IDs to purchase or consume alcohol on premises such as liquor stores or bars, alcohol licensees have been known to work with law enforcement to alert police or stall the minor until police arrive to question or arrest the minor.

Defenses to a Charge of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

alcohol to a minor
Defenses to charges of furbishing alcohol to minors
  • Mistake of Fact: the accused honestly and reasonably believed that the minor was of legal drinking age.
  • Mistake of Fact under California Business and Professions Code Section 25660: a person licensed to sell alcohol with an Alcoholic Beverage Control license honestly and reasonably believed that the identification card used by the minor to purchase or consume alcohol on premise was real and genuine.
  • Conduct under California Business and Professions Code Section 256672: a person under the age of 21 who purchased or consumed alcohol is immune from prosecution if:
    • He/she called 911 to report that either he/she or another person needed medical attention due to alcohol consumption
    • He/she was the first person to make the 911 report
    • He/she remained at the scene until medical assistance arrived and cooperated with the medical assistants and/or law enforcement who arrived
  • The minor nor any other person was not involved in an activity that was dangerous due to alcohol consumption, (e.g. being under the age of 21 and driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code Section 231403)

What is the Punishment for a Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor Conviction

Under California Business and Professions Code Section 25658, furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor. The penalties upon conviction depend on the circumstances of your case.

Individuals

Arrested and incarcerated for furbishing alcohol to minors
You could be facing serious jail time for furbishing alcohol to minors

Under California Business and Professions Code Section 25658, an individual charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor faces a fine of up to $1,000 and 24 hours of community service.

If the minor consumed the alcohol and then caused great bodily injury or death to himself/herself or to another person, the individual faces up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

In addition to or in lieu of a furnishing alcohol to a minor charge, an individual can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor under California Penal Code Section 272. A contributing to the delinquency of a minor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $2,500 fine.

Parents    

A parent or guardian who knowingly allows his/her child or another child under the age of 18 to consume alcohol or a controlled substance in the home can be charged with a misdemeanor.

To be convicted of this charge, it must be proven that the child was under the influence of a controlled substance or had a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of 0.05% or higher as a result of the drug and/or alcohol use in the home. A conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

Minors

A person under the age of 21 charged for purchasing an alcoholic beverage or consuming an alcoholic beverage in a place where alcohol is sold faces a fine of up to $250 and 32 hours of community service. A second violation is punishable by a fine up to $500 and 48 hours of community service.

In addition to fines and community service, the minor faces a one-year suspension of his/her driver’s license. If the minor has yet to obtain a driver’s license, his/her eligibility to drive will be postponed for one year from the date that he/she is eligible to obtain a license. Any subsequent violations will result in an additional one-year suspension or delay.

If the minor displayed a fake California driver’s license to purchase or consume an alcoholic beverage, he/she would face a misdemeanor charge of displaying or possessing a fake driver’s license or identification card under California Penal Code Section 470(b)4. Depending on the circumstances of your case and past criminal history, displaying or possessing a fake driver’s license or identification card can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction is punishable by 16 months, two years or three years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Persons Licensed to Sell Alcohol

An on-sale alcoholic beverage licensee (of a bar, restaurant, liquor store, etc.) who knowingly allows a person under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcohol on premise faces a fine of up to $250 and 32 hours of community service. A second violation is punishable by a fine up to $500 and 48 hours of community service.

In addition to fines and community service, an on-sale alcoholic beverage licensee faces a 15-day suspension of his/her license by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control upon conviction for furnishing alcohol to a minor. A second conviction within a 36-month period can result in a 25-day suspension. A third conviction can result in revocation of the license.

If the person’s alcohol license suspension is for a first or second furnishing alcohol to a minor conviction, he/she can petition the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to pay a fine instead of serve a suspension.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one is charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in successfully defending persons charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


Information retrieved from:

1. http://law.onecle.com/california/business/25658.html

2. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=bpc&group=25001-26000&file=25657-25667

3. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23140.htm

4. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=470-483.5

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