Minor in Possession Information for Chico State and Butte College Students
Under California Business and Professions Code (BP) 25662, it is a misdemeanor for any person under the age of 21 to have any alcoholic beverage in his or her possession on any street, highway, or place open to the public. Often referred to as “minor in possession” law or “underage drinking”
Prosecution for Minor in Possession of Alcohol. The Judge:can charge this section as a misdemeanor or an infraction. Business and Professions code 25662 is typically the code section used for a Minor in Possession charge. The specific of the law require :
The defendant unlawfully possessed an alcoholic beverage;
The defendant was on a street, highway, public place, or a place open to the public); AND
At the time, the defendant was under 21 years old.
Key Terms Under BP 25662
While the elements of this crime are rather clear; it is important to fully understand the terms specified under this law.
Possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 is legal under certain circumstances. It is lawful to possess the beverage if the minor is following reasonable instructions from an adult. Specifically, the law notes that it is legal if the person is following "the instructions of his or her parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, or adult designee relating to disposition of the alcoholic beverage." This can be either in delivering the beverage (such as carrying it from the car parked on the street to the house), or throwing it in the trashcan that is set out on the curb. It also includes handling the beverage as part of the defendant's occupation, such as serving alcohol as a waiter or waitress.
Possession does not simply mean that the defendant had the drink in his or her hand. It can also be applied "constructively," which means that the defendant had or shared control with another over the beverage. For example, if you went to the beach, and were drinking from a beer bottle that you then put down on a towel nearby, you are still considered to be in possession of the bottle.
Public Place or Place Open to the Public
There is a slight difference between a public place, and a place that is open to the public. A "public place" is one that is always open to the public, such as sidewalks, public beaches, or parks. A "place that is open to the public" is private property that is made available to the public for various reasons, such as a shopping center, or an amusement park.
Penalties for Violating BP 25662
Punishment for minor in possession upon a first conviction results in a $500 fine and 24 to 32 hours of community service. In addition, if a Chico State student, the Judicial Counsel may call you in for a disciplinary hearing. You should call us if that occurs. Do not disregard their notice. We can assist with the hearing.
In addition to these penalties for underage drinking, your driving privilege will be affected. Under California Vehicle Code ?13202.5, any person who is convicted of possession of alcohol while under the age of 21 will have their driver's license immediately suspended for one year, and if you have not yet obtained your license, the court will notify the DMV to delay your license for one year after you pass your driving test.
If the judge decides against you, we will file a petition for you to have a restricted licnese, and expunge your case after one year. We have years of successful experience in this area of the law.
Defenses to a Minor in Possession
In order to convict you of underage drinking, the prosecution must prove that you were
What we Can Do:Go to Court for you and get the charge reduced to an infraction
Take your case to trial. Win a trial or mitigate the damages by getting a restricted license via petition we write. Then expunge your record after on year.
If you have a criminal conviction, we can request your record be expunged. California Labor Code section 432.7 says that an employer cannot ask someone applying for a job for information about an arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction. This a new law as of 2015, so take advantage of it. An employer cannot ask about a referral to or participation in any diversion program. Employers are not supposed to look for any record of arrest (from any source) that did not end in a conviction. If this information comes to the employer's attention anyway, the employer cannot use that record as a factor in hiring, promoting, or terminating that person. But this same code section says that the employer may ask an employee or someone applying for a job about an arrest for which he or she is out on bail or released on his or her own recognizance pending trial. A conviction, for purposes of this code section, includes pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt. Because in general people are protected from having to disclose to an employer an arrest if it did not result in a conviction, this guide will focus on cases where someone has actually been convicted and does not fall under the protection of this Labor Code section.