BP 25662(a): Minor in Possession of Alcohol Laws
Legal Definition: any person under 21 years of age who has any alcoholic beverage in his or her possession on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor…
For a person to be convicted of a violation of BP 25662, the prosecution must show that:
- You unlawfully possessed an alcoholic beverage in/on a street/highway/public place/place open to the public; AND
- At the time, you were under 21 years old.
What does this mean?
An alcoholic beverage is a liquid or solid material intended to be consumed that contains one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume. A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess it. It is enough if the person has to control it/the right to control it, either personally or through another person. This offense does not apply to a minor following the direction of someone over the age of 21, if, for example, you are directed to move the alcoholic beverages from one place to another.
Another requirement of this charge is being in public. If you are at home, and consume or have control over an alcoholic beverage, because it is a private home, you could not be found guilty under this section.
For a first time offense under the Business and Professions Code 25662(a), it is a misdemeanor. That means you can possibly be sent to jail for a conviction as a first offender for this charge. Your penalties generally are a fine of $250 and 32 Community Service hours that you must complete.
If this is your second offense under this section, the charge then will become a misdemeanor, where your minimum fines jump to over $500, and your Community Service is at minimum 36-48 hours.
In addition to these penalties for possessing alcohol underage, your driving privilege will be affected. Under California Vehicle Code §13202.5, if you are convicted of possession of alcohol while under the age of 21, your driver’s license will immediately be suspended for one year. If you have not yet obtained your license, the court where your charge is pending will then notify the DMV to delay your license for one year after you pass your driving test.
This is not a Three Strike offense, since it is not a felony, and it is not the type of charge that is generally held against you for Professional Licensing or Immigration cases. However, a misdemeanor on your record at such a young age can affect your ability to work in the future and can slow down any application to a Professional job, by be required to list this conviction on your application.
For this charge, you can attack the elements, such as the lack of control or possession. In an obvious example, say you are at an establishment that serves alcohol and you work there. There is a locked door where alcohol is located, but you do not have access to the door because it is locked. In this scenario, there is no way you can be found as a minor in possession because you do not have exclusive control over the alcohol.
Another example, it says police come into your home based on a 911 call and find you consuming or possessing alcohol. In this scenario, because you are in your private residence, you are not in public, and therefore, any charges from this 911 call would have to be dropped by the Prosecutor.
Finally, a minor who works in a bar, cannot be said to possess alcohol if they are directed by their boss to, for example, move boxes of beer from one location to another. The purpose of this is the relatively limited scope of the possession by the minor, and the fact that an adult over the age of 21 directed them to so. However, it is not a defense if an adult over the age of 21, instructs you to take a beer and drink it, that is not an applicable defense for this charge.
Any of the above would show an Insufficient Evidence to find you guilty of the crime, and you could not be convicted of this offense.
Being a minor in possession of alcohol under BP 25662(a) may appear to be a minor offense, but it can have serious repercussions. A misdemeanor conviction can not only tarnish your criminal record but also lead to the loss of driving privileges if not addressed with the seriousness it deserves.
Our BP 25662(a) Ontario attorney at Inland Empire Criminal Defense has a strong track record of successfully defending cases involving minors in possession of alcohol. It’s critical to take proactive steps to protect your or your loved one’s future, especially to prevent compromising your criminal history at such a young age.
If you’re facing charges under BP 25662(a), having an experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. We offer a free initial consultation and are committed to being available 24/7 to answer any questions and provide the legal guidance you need.
Don’t let a momentary lapse jeopardize your future. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense for expert legal representation. Call us today at 909-281-0465 for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located in Ontario, CA, and we’re here to assist you in navigating these crucial legal challenges.
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