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The consumption of alcohol is something that can be considered dangerous for all people. This is especially true for those that are underage and are not physically or mentally able to handle the impact of alcoholic beverages. Because of this, all people in the state of California need to be at least 21 years old in order to consume alcohol. Not only is the consumption of alcohol highly regulated, but there are a wide variety of laws in place that aim to keep alcohol out of the hands of children.
One law that aims to keep alcohol away from anyone under the age of 21 is
California Business and Professions Code 25658 which makes it illegal to sell or furnish alcohol to anyone that is under the age of 21. This is a very serious crime in California that can come with a variety of different punishments.
Definition of Crime
In order to be in violation of this crime, the prosecutors will have to prove that the crime meets a few different types of definitions. First, the law clearly states that it is illegal to furnish, sell, give, or donate any form of alcohol to any person that is under the age of 21. The crime also makes it illegal to purchase alcohol or consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21.
While this crime is generally reserved for people that are giving alcohol to a person that is under 21 in a casual environment, it also covers people that are licensed to sell alcohol. For example, if you are selling beer at a public event and are caught selling a beer to someone that is under the age of 21, you could be in violation of this law and charged with the crime.
Common Legal Defenses
If you are charged with this crime, there are many different common ways that you can go about trying to defend yourself. One of the most common ways to try to defend against a violation of Business and Professions Code 25658 is to state to state that you were unaware that you were in violation of the crime. For example, if you are trying to sell alcohol at a public event and someone tries to portray that they are over the age of 21 illegally, you could have a good chance of fighting the charge successfully. This defense is commonly referred to as a “mistake of fact”.
Another way that many people try to fight the charge is by stating that they were unaware that they were giving alcohol away. There are many scenarios in which someone could hand a bag or box with other items in in that also happen to contain alcohol. In these cases, you may be completely unaware that the crime is even taking place.
This crime in the state of California is taking very seriously and those that are convicted of it could face a number of different penalties. If you are charged and convicted of Furnishing alcohol to someone under the age of 21, you could be required to spend up to 24 hours of community service and pay a fine in excess of $1,000.
However, the amount of penalty that you receive will also depend on whether or not further issues occurred because of the consumption of the alcohol by the minor. If the minor then happened to get into an auto accident, you could be faced with much more significant penalties including jail time and more serious fines.
If you are minor and are charged with trying to purchase alcohol or charged with possessing and consuming alcohol, you could be facing additional penalties as well. For first time offenders, a very standard penalty is a $500 ticket and up to 48 hours of community service. Those that are multiple offenders could end up spending even more time doing community service and may be required to go through some form of rehabilitation or education process.
If you are charged with a violation of California Business and Professions Code 25658, you should reach out to a criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will be able to help you develop a good defense plan to ensure you are able to receive a lighter punishment and even fight the charge completely.