Furnish Alcohol to a Minor
Information on the crime of furnishing alcohol to a minor is found at Business and Professions Code section 25658(a). It is also a crime for a person under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol or to consume alcohol (BP 25658(b).
Note: Is a crime for a person to give alcohol to an underage person, for an underage person to consume alcohol as a minor, or to sell alcohol to an underage person.
25658(a) Every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age is guilty of furnishing alcohol to a minor (Abbrev.).
BP 25658(b) Any person under 21 years of age who purchases any alcoholic beverage, or any person under 21 years of age who consumes any alcoholic beverage in any on-sale premises, is of underage drinking (Abbrev.).
BP 25658(c) Any person who purchases any alcoholic beverage for, or furnishing, giving, or giving away any alcoholic beverage to, a person under 21 years of age, and the person under 21 years of age thereafter consumes the alcohol and thereby causes great bodily injury or death to themselves or any other person, is guilty of furnishing alcohol to an underage person causing injury or death (Abbrev.).
BP 25658(d) Any on sale licensee who knowingly permits a person under 21 years of age to consume any alcoholic beverage in the on sale premises, whether or not the licensee has knowledge that the person is under 21 years of age, is guilty of selling alcohol to an underage person (Abbrev.).
Note: In addition to any charge under BP 25658, a person who furnishes alcohol to a minor may also be charged with the crime of willful child endangerment. Willful child endangerment charges are substantially more serious in terms of punishment.
Giving or selling alcohol to an underage person (or consuming alcohol by an underage person) is classified as a misdemeanor. If Found guilty of BP 25658(a) the defendant could face up to 180 days in jail.
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence in BP 25658(a) cases is period of monitoring by the court. This period of monitoring can be up to three years, but typically, probation lasts about a year in BP 25658(a) cases. Probation is allowed in furnish alcohol to a minor cases but it is not guaranteed. Whether or not the defendant will be granted a probation sentence after a conviction for BP 25658(a) depends on may factors.
Work Release: Work release is manual labor, such as picking up trash around jails or highways. Work release (and house arrest) are alternative to jail that might be available in some BP 25685 cases depending on the defendant's criminal history and the circumstances of the case.
Note: Furnishing alcohol to a minor is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude. Also, any jail time or work release time that is ordered in a BP 25658(a) cases is subject to fifty percent reduction for good behavior.
Defenses to BP 25658
Certain defenses are unique to underage alcohol crimes. These defenses include:
An underage person being used at the direction of a peace officer to help make arrest for underage drinking (underage decoy used by officers to assist in catching violators of this crime)
Underage students tasting alcohol as part of a curriculum related to alcohol (hotel managements, culinary arts, etc).
Calling 911 for oneself to report an emergency related to his or her underage drinking, or an underage person consuming alcohol who calls on behalf of another person in an emergency, so long as the underage person does not leave the scene of the emergency)
An underage person that is furnished with alcohol to transport or store on behalf of a licensed alcohol distributor or seller, and more.
Defenses not unique to BP 25658 may also be available, including statute of limitations (1 year), mistake of fact (did not know the substance was alcohol), insufficient evidence, entrapment (especially against a store owner), and more.
If you or a loved one has been charged with giving alcohol to a an underage person or consuming alcoholic beverages as an underage person, contact our criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Call today!
Quick Legal Reference
Crime: Furnish Alcohol to a Minor
Code: BP 25658(a) (CalCrim No. 2962-2964)
Wobbler: No. BP 25658(a) is not a wobbler. This means that BP 25658(a) is only charged as a misdemeanor.
Incarceration: BP 25658(a) jail sentence up to 180 days.
Probation: Probation may be available in BP 25658(a) cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.
Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.
Strike: BP 25658(a) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.
Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.
CIMT: BP 25658(a) is not a crime involving moral turpitude.
Bail: $5,000 (San Bernardino County)
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