Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges in California
In the State of California and throughout the U.S., it’s illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to possess an alcoholic beverage in any public space. While the penalties for a guilty charge for a minor in possession law aren’t very severe, it can result in a criminal charge that leaves a record for a lifetime. Criminal charges on a permanent record can put an individual in a less than favorable position when applying to schools, jobs, and in their future careers.
If you or a loved one is facing a minor in possession charge, our expert San Diego criminal defense team can help. Bradley Corbett is well-versed in the California Business and Professions Code 25662 BP and knows what it takes to get you the best outcome possible for your case. Whether this is your first offense or a repeat offense, there’s no case too complex for Bradley Corbett to handle.
Defining California’s Minor in Possession Law
There are several important elements contained within the definition of California’s minor in possession law. In order to prove that one is guilty of this offense, the prosecution must prove that:
- At the time of the offense, the individual was under age 21
- The individual personally or jointly possessed (or constructively possessed) an alcoholic beverage, defined as a liquid or solid material intended to be consumed that contains at least .005% alcohol
- The individual possessed the beverage in a public space, which includes any street or highway, a bar, restaurant, park, or any other public place.
Simply being in the vicinity of minors who are possessing alcohol is not enough cause to find one guilty of a minor in possession offense. Similarly, minors who consume alcohol in a private home are not necessarily committing a crime, either.
Defending Your Case
There are several different legal defenses that an experienced criminal defense attorney like Bradley Corbett can use to fight your case. Some of these can including arguing that:
- You didn’t possess the alcohol – you were just present in the vicinity
- You did possess the alcohol, but it was for an approved and limited purpose – you were delivering the alcohol under the direction of boss, parent, or caregiver
- The alcohol was discovered due to an illegal search and seizure – police may have searched you or your property without a valid search warrant, or you were detained or arrested unlawfully in the first place
- You called 911 in the event that you or another person needed immediate medical attention due to alcohol consumption. You must have been the first to call the authorities, remained on the scene, and cooperated with on-scene officers in order to be immune from criminal prosecution.
For juveniles under the age of 18 who have been accused of possessing alcohol, Bradley Corbett can work to either seal your juvenile records or expunge them altogether.
Minors found guilty of possessing alcohol (a misdemeanor charge) face a $250 fine for a first-time offense, between 24-32 hours of community service, a one-year driver’s license suspension or one-year delay in obtaining a driver’s license, and participation in a youthful drunk driver program.
Don’t let a minor in possession charge permanently alter your future and criminal record. Contact Bradley Corbett today to learn how our San Diego criminal defense team can help your case.