Can a minor be in a car with alcohol in California? Generally, drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to carry unopened alcoholic beverages in their vehicles. Possession of alcohol as a minor can lead to criminal charges in Los Angeles.
However, there are several exceptions that allow minors to be in a car with alcohol. For example, minors can carry alcohol in their vehicle if they are driving with a parent. Learn more about these exceptions with the Simmrin Law Group. Contact our team for legal help by calling (310) 997-4688.
Possession of an Alcoholic Beverage in a Vehicle by Drivers Under 21
Drivers under 21 are not usually allowed to carry alcoholic beverages in their vehicles in California. Drivers face charges under Vehicle Code §23224 for possession of alcohol in a vehicle while younger than 21. VC 23224 is considered a misdemeanor offense in this state.
Drivers convicted under VC 23224 face several penalties, including:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
The court can also impound a driver’s vehicle after a VC 23224 conviction in California. The court can keep a driver’s vehicle for up to 30 days. Additionally, the court could suspend an individual’s driver’s license following a VC 23224 conviction.
Exceptions to VC 23224 Charges in California
VC 23224 charges do not apply to all drivers under the age of 21. Some drivers are allowed to carry unopened and sealed alcoholic beverages. For example, drivers under 21 can transport alcohol in their vehicle if they are traveling with:
- Their parent
- A responsible adult relative
- A designated adult
Drivers can also transport alcohol if they are following the instructions of their parents, certain relatives, or special adult designees. Finally, drivers under 21 can carry alcohol for the purposes of their job, if they are working for someone who has a license to sell alcohol.
However, these drivers can only transport alcohol that is sealed and closed. Drivers in California are not allowed to carry open containers of alcohol. This regulation applies to drivers of any age.
Find out more about carrying alcohol in California by calling (310) 997-4688. Our team at the Simmrin Law Group is here to help you.
Laws on Carrying Open Containers of Alcohol in California
All drivers in California can face criminal charges for carrying an open container of alcohol in their vehicle. Open containers are any receptacles that hold alcohol that are – or previously were – open.
For example, let’s say a driver has a bottle of wine. They drank a glass at a friend’s house. They then closed the bottle and put it in their car to take home. The bottle would be an “open” container of alcohol.
Vehicle Code (VEH) §23222(a) is used to prosecute drivers for carrying an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Drivers of any age can face VC 23222(a) charges. Drivers can face fines and jail time if they are caught with an open container of alcohol.
Note that driving under the influence of alcohol is also a serious criminal offense in California. In fact, charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can even lead to license restrictions in our state.
Exceptions for Vehicle Code 23222(a) Charges in Los Angeles
You should know that there are several exceptions to VC 23222(a) charges in Los Angeles. This means that some drivers are allowed to carry open containers of alcohol. However, these exceptions typically only work for drivers over 21.
Drivers over the age of 21 can transport open containers of alcohol if the alcohol is kept in:
- A locked container
- The trunk of their vehicle
- The bed of a pickup truck
VC 23222(a) charges are not always used for drivers under 21. These drivers are more likely to face VC 23224 charges, as we previously discussed. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can help you handle either of these criminal charges.
We are ready to build a defense for you, regardless of the DUI charges you are facing. We can take steps to block the prosecution’s evidence. We’ll focus on getting your charges reduced.
In some cases, your charges can even get dismissed. Find out more about your legal options by reaching out to us for assistance now.
Find Out if a Minor Can Be in a Car with Alcohol in California
In some cases, minors can be in a car with alcohol in California. However, the state does not always permit this activity. You can get help if you face criminal charges for driving in a car while in possession of alcohol.
Find out more by calling (310) 997-4688. You can also complete our online contact form. Get in touch with the Simmrin Law Group now and work with a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles.
Discuss your situation with a free consultation.