June 3, 2022 By Matthew Wallin

When Providing Alcohol to a Minor Causes Collision

California Business and Professions Code Section 25658 

Under California Business and Professions Code Section 25658, every person who sells, furnishes, or gives any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor. In the United States, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years. According to research, a relatively high legal drinking age of 21 has led to fewer motor vehicle crashes, as well as decreased alcoholism and alcohol poisoning. 

Penalties for Providing Alcohol to a Minor 

Violation of the California Business and Professions Code Section 25658 is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, the penalties for providing alcohol to a minor may vary depending on the consequences of the minor’s actions. 

California Business and Professions Code Section 25658(c) 

If an individual sells or gives alcohol to a minor but the minor’s drinking does not cause harm to anyone else, the penalties are: 

  • $1,000 in fines 
  • At least 24 hours of community service 

On the other hand, if the minor’s drinking later caused great bodily injury or death to the minor or any other person, the penalties are harsher and include: 

  • $1,000 in fines 
  • 6 months to 1 year in county jail 

California Business and Professions Code Section 25658.2 

Parents and guardians are also legally prohibited from furnishing alcohol to children. According to California Business and Professions Code Section 25658.2, a parent or legal guardian who knowingly permits a child under the age of 18 years to consume any alcoholic beverage or use a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian is guilty of a misdemeanor if all of the following occur: 

  • As a result of the alcohol or controlled substance, the child has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater or is under the influence of a controlled substance. 
  • The parent knowingly permits that child to drive a vehicle. 
  • That child causes a traffic collision while driving the vehicle. 

A person who violates this section faces: 

  • Up to $1,000 in fines 
  • Up to 1 year in county jail 

Defenses for Providing Alcohol to a Minor 

Section 25658 is known as a strict liability offense, meaning that the prosecution doesn’t actually need to prove that the defendant had criminal intent in order for the court to find him guilty. In other words, the prosecution does not need to prove that the defendant knew that the recipient of the alcohol was under the age of 21. 

In certain cases, however, you may have certain defenses to get the charges against you dropped. For example, if you sold alcohol to a minor by reasonably relying on a government-issued identification card, you may be able to exercise the mistake of fact defense to relieve yourself of such charges. The key here is that you must have truly and reasonably believed that the fake I.D. was a genuine government-issued form of identification. If you inspected the I.D. and it appeared to be genuine, you would not be found guilty of this offense. On the other hand, if you failed to perform a reasonable inspection or the I.D. could not reasonably be believed to be genuine, you would still face liability for this crime. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are charged with providing alcohol to a minor and the minor later caused a traffic accident, you may face criminal charges that can harm your reputation and give you a permanent criminal record. That is why you need an experienced defense team on your side. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients with DUI-related crimes, and we have the skills and resources to take on your case. We can help you achieve the best possible results so that you never need to worry. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney. 

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