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Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor in California

Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor in California

Each state has enacted its own laws about furnishing alcohol to a minor, so there are subtle nuances from state to state. If you’re thinking about giving alcohol to a minor, for example, in your own home or in the mountains while camping, you may be wondering about the state’s laws on the matter, as you should be!

The law you’re looking for can be found under Section 25658 of the Business and Professions Code (BPC). Under Sec. 25658(a), it is illegal to sell, furnish, give, or cause to be sold, furnish, or give away alcohol to anyone who is under the age of 21. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

What About Private Property?

In California, it’s illegal to provide alcohol to a minor, period. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a local park, at a restaurant, on the beach, hiking in the hills, camping, or at a private residence – giving or selling alcohol to someone under 21 is against the law.

“What if I am the parent? Can’t I give my own child alcohol if I please? After all, a sip of my beer or wine is no big deal.” Now, this is a question that comes up a lot. But unfortunately, there are NO laws in California that say it’s okay for minors to drink alcohol with parental consent. In this situation, a parent can actually be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

If someone violates the law and furnishes alcohol to a minor in California, they face a misdemeanor conviction, a $1,000 fine, and a minimum of 24 hours of community service. If someone furnishes alcohol to a minor and the minor subsequently causes great bodily injury or death to themselves or someone else, the violator will be charged with a misdemeanor and will face up to one year and jail, a $1,000 fine, or a fine and jail.

Next: Sealing Juvenile Records in California

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