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What Happens if a Minor is Caught in Possession of Alcohol in California?

Everyone makes mistakes, though kids are, in most cases, more prone to do so, especially when it comes to using drugs or alcohol. Though we all know you cannot drink alcohol until you reach a certain age, unfortunately, many underage people do so anyway. If you or your child are facing minor in possession charges, you need an experienced Red Bluff criminal lawyer on your side. Please continue reading and reach out to our knowledgeable legal team to learn more about minor in possession charges in California and how we can help you fight them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are minor in possession charges in California?

If you are under 21 years old and caught with alcohol in a public place in California, you could face serious consequences. Minor in possession charges are not just a slap on the wrist. They are misdemeanor offenses that can affect your future in many ways. Some of the penalties for minor in possession charges in California include:

  • A fine of up to $500, depending on whether it is your first or subsequent offense.
  • Community service hours at an alcohol or drug treatment center or the county coroner’s office.
  • Participation in a youth drunk driver program, which may include education, counseling, and testing.
  • Suspension or delay of your driver’s license for one year, which can limit your mobility and opportunities.

Rather obviously, these are serious penalties that should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, if you’re reading this, you are in the right place. Cohen Criminal Law has extensive experience combatting these charges on behalf of our clients, and we’re prepared to put that experience to work for you in your case.

Are there any circumstances wherein a minor can lawfully possess alcohol?

Though in most cases it is illegal for a minor to possess or consume alcohol, there are some exceptions. For example, consuming alcohol for religious purposes or serving alcohol to others at their place of employment (e.g. a waiter in a restaurant) is not considered illegal. Additionally, typically, minors can possess or consume alcohol if they are in the presence of an immediate adult family member and have their permission. Note that this only applies to immediate family members; not non-family members, such as a friend’s parent.

If you require knowledgeable legal assistance, our firm is here. All you have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call.