California Business & Professions Code Section 25658 makes it against the law to sell, furnish, or give alcohol to a minor. Furnishing alcohol to minors is generally an infraction but it can be charged as a misdemeanor, resulting in a permanent criminal record. Selling alcohol to minors can be financially devastating for a business who mistakenly sells alcohol to someone underage. Parents can even be charged with a misdemeanor for allowing their child to drink if the child is involved in an accident.
If you were accused of giving alcohol for a minor, contact a local East Bay criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Business & Professions Code 25658 BPC Text
Under California Business & Professions Code Section 25658, it is against the law to sell, furnish, give, or cause to be sold, furnished, or given away any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age. The laws also apply to individuals under the age of 21 who buy alcohol. Generally, the penalties for selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor include a fine of $1,000 and a minimum of 24 hours community service.
Furnishing Alcohol and Causing an Accident
Under California Business & Professions Code Section 25658(c), the penalties are greater if the minor then consumes the alcohol and gets into an injury accident. It is a misdemeanor crime for any person who purchases for, furnishes, or gives any alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age when and the minor consumes the alcohol and causes great bodily injury or death.
The penalties for giving alcohol to a minor who causes an injury accident include imprisonment in the county jail for 6 months to one year, and a fine of up to $1,000.
Parents Giving Alcohol to their Kids
Even parents are prohibited from giving their kids alcohol. Most of the time, the police would never know if a parent let their underage child have alcohol. However, if the child then gets into a car accident after drinking, causing an injury, the parents may face criminal charges.
Under California Business & Professions Code Section 25658.2, a parent or legal guardian who knowingly permits his or her child or a person in the company of the child, who are under the age of 18, to consume alcohol in the home of the parent may be charged with a misdemeanor, under the following:
- As the result of the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or use of a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian, the child or other underage person has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% or higher;
- The parent knowingly permits that child or other underage person, after leaving the parent's or legal guardian's home, to drive a vehicle; and
- That child or underage person causes a traffic collision while driving the vehicle.
The penalties for a conviction under this statute include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1-year imprisonment in the county jail.
Even if the parents are not charged or convicted, the parents may be civilly liable for providing alcohol to their child who gets into a car accident. Anyone injured in an accident involving the underage DUI may be able to seek financial compensation from the driver and the driver's parents if they furnished the alcohol.
Under-21 Police Informants
The police often use undercover operations or underage participants to bust people for selling or giving alcohol to minors. Many people feel sympathetic to a 20-year-old college student who is just trying to buy some drinks for friends on the weekend. However, that high school or college student may actually be cooperating with the police to bust people giving alcohol to minors.
Under the code, persons under 21 years of age may be used by police officers to enforce these laws, to apprehend workers or owners at a bar, restaurant, liquor store, or even a customer who was asked to buy the alcohol.
Defense Strategies for Charges of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
Even if it seems like you simply got busted for giving alcohol to a minor, there are defenses available to get your charges dropped or get a not guilty verdict. If you were accused of giving alcohol to a minor and the minor later caused a DUI accident, criminal charges can harm your reputation and give you a permanent criminal record. Before pleading guilty or accepting a plea deal, talk to your California criminal defense lawyer for advice.
Defense Lawyer for 25658 BPC Charges in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
East Bay criminal defense attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 36 years of legal experience, and understands the consequences of a criminal conviction. Representing drivers in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local laws, officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay defense attorney Lynn Gorelick today.