Individuals 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to buy and consume alcohol in California. However, California Business & Professions Code Section 25658(b) regulates businesses regarding the purchase or consumption of alcohol by a person under 21. Disciplinary action for those allowing an unlicensed sale can vary.
Suppose your business has been accused of selling to underage individuals. In that case, the Simmrin Law Group has top-rated Los Angeles DUI lawyers with experience in cases where the influence of alcohol is apparent.
In a risk-free consultation, learn your legal options or read on to learn the penalties for the sale licensee, those in unlawful possession, and which legal defenses can be applied to your case.
Explaining California’s Business and Professions Code 25658(b): The Purchase and Consumption of Alcohol
Individuals under the age of 21 can be charged with a misdemeanor offense under BPC 25658(b) if they:
- Purchase an alcoholic beverage.
- Consume an alcoholic beverage.
To secure a conviction for selling or furnishing alcohol to individuals under the age of 21, the prosecution must establish the following elements:
- The alcohol sales establishments knowingly sold, furnished, gave away, or caused the sale, furnishing, or giving away of alcohol to people.
- At the time of the transaction, the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was an underage person less than 21 years old.
Disciplinary Policies that Protect the Defendant
A defendant can be found not guilty of this offense under specific circumstances. These include:
- Identification request: The defendant, their employee, or agent insisted on inspecting a government-issued document as proof of the person’s age and identity.
- False Identification: The person in question presented the defendant with a government-issued document or a document that appeared to be government-issued as evidence of their age and identity.
- Verification: The defendant genuinely relied upon the presented document as confirmation of the person’s age and identity.
Protections For an Intoxicated Person Under California’s BPC 25658(b)
The purchase or consumption of alcohol by a person under 21 is protected in California Business & Professions Code Section 25658(b) under certain circumstances. Individuals under 21 may not be prosecuted under BPC 25658(b) if they are the first person to call 911 to get:
- Help for themselves after consuming alcohol.
- Help for someone else who consumed alcohol.
To avoid disciplinary action, the individual must remain at the scene until medical professionals arrive to be exempted from BPC 25658(b) charges. They must also cooperate with both law enforcement agencies and emergency medical technicians.
Penalties for Sale Premises or Private Property Owners Caught in Violation
The penalties for the sale of premises or private property owners caught in violation of California’s BPC 25658(b), which pertains to the sale or provision of alcoholic beverages to individuals under 21, can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the discretion of the court. However, a general overview of the potential penalties include:
Violation of BPC 25658(b) can result in criminal charges being filed against the sale premises or private property owner for providing alcohol to minors.
Selling or furnishing alcohol to someone under 21 is typically considered a misdemeanor offense in California.
Convicted sale premises or private property owners may be subject to fines for beer and wine sales. The specific amount of the fines can vary but can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
License Suspension or Revocation
The sale premises or private property owner may face administrative penalties, such as the suspension or revocation of their liquor license. This can have significant consequences for businesses that rely on the sale of alcohol.
In addition to fines and license penalties, a conviction under BPC 25658(b) can result in other legal consequences, such as probation, community service, or mandated alcohol education programs.
It is important to note that the penalties can be influenced by factors such as prior offenses, the severity of the violation, and other relevant circumstances. If you are facing charges related to BPC 25658(b), it is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide you with specific legal advice based on your situation.
Penalties for Underage Drinkers Violating BPC 25658(b)
In California, individuals who are found guilty of purchasing or consuming alcohol before reaching the age of 21 can face misdemeanor charges under BPC 25658(b). The state of California places great emphasis on maintaining an alcohol and drug-free environment for individuals under the legal drinking age. Violating BPC 25658(b) can lead to various penalties aimed at ensuring a safe environment for young individuals.
For a first-time conviction under BPC 25658(b), the following penalties may apply:
- Fines: The convicted individual may be required to pay fines of up to $250. The purpose of these fines is to discourage underage alcohol consumption and promote responsible behavior.
- Community service: Additionally, first-time offenders can be ordered to perform community service for a maximum of 32 hours. The community service must be completed at designated facilities such as an Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facility or a Coroner’s Office.
It is important to note that subsequent offenses carry more severe penalties. In the case of a second or subsequent BPC 25658(b) offense, the following penalties can be imposed:
- Increased fines: The fines for subsequent offenses can be raised to a maximum of $500. This increase aims to deter repeat violations and promote compliance with the law.
- Extended community service: Alongside increased fines, individuals convicted of subsequent offenses may be required to perform up to 48 hours of community service. This extended service duration further emphasizes the importance of responsible behavior and community engagement.
Be aware that a BPC 25658(b) conviction can lead to a one-year suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. This additional penalty underscores the serious nature of underage alcohol consumption and serves as a deterrent to prevent future violations.
Law enforcement officials are committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone, and unruly conduct or additional charges related to alcohol possession or alcohol at events can result in further legal consequences.
Young individuals need to adhere to alcohol policy and the laws and regulations surrounding alcohol consumption, promoting responsible decision-making and fostering a culture of safety and well-being.
Charges Similar to Purchasing or Consuming Alcohol While Under 21
The state of California uses many different laws to control the sale and usage of alcohol. Individuals could be charged under:
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25603: Bringing Intoxicants into a Penal Institution.
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25608: Alcoholic Beverages at a Public Educational Facility.
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25631: Selling Alcohol Between 2:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M..
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a): Soliciting Sale of Alcohol.
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25658.2: Permitting Consumption of Alcohol by Minor Children with Subsequent Vehicle Collision.
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25658(a): Selling or Furnishing an Alcoholic Beverage to a Person Under 21.
These charges are designed to limit drunk driving in the state. Individuals who are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can face much harsher penalties, including lengthy periods of incarceration.
Winning Legal Defenses for BPC 25658(b) Accusations
You can get professional help handling BPC 25658(b) charges in California by consulting with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer today. Your legal team can go over the facts surrounding your case to build your defense. A lawyer could work to show that:
You Were Mistaken for Someone Else
Sometimes, BPC 25658(b) charges are a result of mistaken identity. If you did not actually purchase or consume alcohol, you could avoid a BPC 25658(b) conviction. Let your lawyer know right away if you were falsely charged with purchasing or consuming an alcoholic beverage.
You Called 911 for Emergency Help
As we mentioned earlier, BPC 25658(b) charges may not apply if you reach out for emergency medical services after drinking alcohol. You must be the first person to contact medical technicians to have your BPC 25658(b) charges set aside.
Speak to a Lawyer About BPC 25658(b) Charges in California Today
California Business & Professions Code Section 25658(b): Purchase or Consumption of Alcoholic Beverage by a Person Under 21 charges can lead to fines and other penalties. Make sure you’re ready to take on these charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today.
Take charge of your future by contacting our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles today for a free case evaluation.