The state of California only legally allows individuals to buy and consume alcohol after they reach 21 years of age. Individuals who drink alcohol before this age can face criminal charges under California Business & Professions Code Section 25658(b): Purchase or Consumption of Alcoholic Beverage by a Person Under 21.
You can learn more about the penalties for a BPC 25658(b) violation right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can also review legal defenses for drinking under the age of 21 as well as the penalties that can be faced for selling alcohol to individuals under 21.
The Legal Definition of BPC 25658(b)
Individuals under the age of 21 may face criminal charges under BPC 25658(b) if they:
- Purchase an Alcoholic Beverage.
- Consume an Alcoholic Beverage.
Note that BPC 25658(b) charges apply if an individual consumes an alcoholic beverage at an on-sale premises. On-sale premises are businesses that sell alcohol to be consumed while an individual is in the business. A bar would be an example of an on-sale premises.
Exceptions for BPC 25658(b) Charges in California
California makes an exception to BPC 25658(b) charges for individuals under the age of 21 in cases involving medical emergencies. 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.
Note that 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 officers and emergency medical technicians.
Penalties for Purchasing or Consuming Alcohol While Under 21
Individuals who are convicted of purchasing or consuming alcohol before they turn 21 can be charged with a misdemeanor in California. A first-time BPC 25658(b) conviction can result in:
- Fines of Up to $250.
- Community Service of Up to 32 Hours.
Note that the community service must be served at:
- An Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facility.
- A Coroner’s Office.
Individuals convicted of a subsequent BPC 25658(b) offense will face increased fines of up to $500. They may also have to perform up to 48 hours of community service. Finally, the court system can issue a one-year driver’s license suspension for a BPC 25658(b) conviction.
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.
Legal Defenses for BPC 25658(b) Accusations
You can get professional help handling BPC 25658(b) charges in California by contacting 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 reached 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
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. You can reach us by completing our online contact form or calling 310-997-4688.
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