Buying a drink for another person is often part of normal social interactions when individuals are out at a bar or a club. While this action is generally acceptable legally, individuals can face prosecution for trying to convince someone else to purchase them a drink.
Trying to instigate another person into buying a drink can result in charges under California Penal Code Section 303(a): Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol. You can find out more about the legal uses of PC 303(a) charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
The Legal Definition of Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol
Individuals in California may be charged with soliciting the purchase of alcohol if they loiter in a business that sells alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption in order to:
- Beg or Solicit the Purchase of Alcoholic Beverages From
- Any Patrons, Customers, or Visitors in the Business
Note that an individual must be loitering for PC 303(a) charges to apply. The state of California defines loitering as staying in a location without any lawful reason.
You should also be aware that PC 303(a) charges apply only for the solicitation of purchases of alcohol in certain places of business. Generally, an individual must try to convince someone else to buy them a drink in the place where the drink will be consumed, such as a bar, club, or restaurant.
Legal Penalties for Soliciting the Purchase of Alcohol Convictions
Prosecutors in California treat PC 303(a) violations as misdemeanors. This criminal charge can have a number of serious consequences, including:
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
- Fines of Up to $1,000
In some situations, an individual may be sentenced to probation rather than jail time for soliciting the purchase of alcohol in California.
Examples of PC 303(a) Violations in California
Check out these examples to find out more about soliciting the purchase of alcohol:
Man A ran out his tab at the local bar, but doesn’t want to go home. He stays in the bar, even though he doesn’t intend to make another purchase or pay his tab. He asks everyone that comes in if they’ll buy him a drink. He could be charged under PC 303(a).
Man B is only 20, but he wants to buy a six-pack of beer for a party at his dorm. He goes to a local store and stands outside, trying to convince someone to go in and buy him the beer he wants. He should not be charged under PC 303(a), because he is not seeking a drink at a business where alcohol is consumed on the premise, but he could face other criminal charges.
Charges Similar to Soliciting the Purchase of Alcohol in California
There are a number of other criminal charges used to prosecuted alcohol-related offenses in the state of California. Depending on the specifics of the situation, individuals might be charged under:
- California Penal Code Section 273(g): Lewdness Or Drunkenness In The Presence Of A Child
- California Penal Code Section 647(f): Drunk in Public
- California Business and Professions Code Section 25662: Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Common Defenses for Soliciting the Purchase of Alcohol
A criminal charge for soliciting the purchase of alcohol does not have to automatically lead to a conviction. You may be able to stand up to these accusations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal professional can assess the facts surrounding your case and may be able to build a defense by showing that:
You Weren’t Loitering
PC 303(a) charges should only apply if you were lingering in a business without any legal reason to be there. If you were in a business for a legitimate reason, you should not be convicted of soliciting the purchase of alcohol.
You Weren’t Trying to Get Anyone to Buy You a Drink
As we mentioned earlier, people frequently buy one another drinks when they’re out in a bar or club. You are allowed to accept these drinks. It’s only a criminal act to remain in a business solely to try to convince someone to buy you a drink.
Focus on a Defense Against PC 303(a) Charges
You can increase your odds of beating a California Penal Code Section 303(a): Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol charge by getting immediate legal advice. Start working on your defense today with the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.
We can offer you a FREE case evaluation so you can find out more about your legal options.