In California, there is minor in possession law which regulates alcohol found in the possession of minors. Taking into consideration, the increasing number of crimes committing by drunken minors this law is keen to enforce the fight against juvenile crimes.
Pursuant to Business and Professions Code §25662 California any person under the age of 21 years who has any alcoholic beverage in his or her possession on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Thus, the offense consists of the following elements to prove:
a) A person was under 21 at the time of the offense
b) A person possessed any alcoholic beverage
c) It happened on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public.
According to the law provisions, a person becomes one year older as soon as the first minute of his or her birthday has begun.
In order to possess an item, a person must not actually hold or touch something. It is enough if the person has (control over it/ [or] the right to control it), either personally or through another person.
Pursuant to California Business and Professions Code §23004, alcoholic beverage includes alcohol, spirits, liquor, wine, beer and every liquid or solid containing alcohol, spirits, wine, or beer, and which contains one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume and which is fit for beverage purposes either alone or when diluted, mixed, or combined with other substances.
It is not considered that a person possessed unlawfully an alcoholic beverage if it was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of parent(s), legal guardian, responsible adult relative or employer to deliver or dispose of the alcoholic beverage. The prosecutor has the burden to proving beyond any reasonable doubt that it did not exist. Otherwise, the defendant should not be found guilty.
It should be mentioned that in order to be charged with this offense a defendant should possess an alcoholic beverage in a public place( i.e., a park,), on any street or highway or in any place open to the public( i.e. cinema).
However, a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage is considered to be a misdemeanor. In consequence, the law states penalties for the offense. The person convicted of the committing of the crime will be punished:
a) by a fine of $250
b) required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school.
A second or subsequent violation will be considered as a misdemeanor and the person will be punished:
a) by a fine of $250
b) or required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service as the court deems just.
You should remember that incrimination of the crime always depends on the circumstances of each case. It can happen that the defendant of MIP will be charged with other related crimes, i.e., Under 21 DUI (California Vehicle Code § 23140 VC). In addition, there are cases while the business owners and parents can be charged as well, i.e., parents allowing children to consume alcohol in their home (California’s Business and Professions Code §25658.2), selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor( California’s Business and Professions Code § 25658 ).
The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We will help you to understand the various aspects of your case. We are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning drug charges in California for free. Do not hesitate to contact us! We will evaluate your case and prepare as fast as possible your defense for trial and do our best to get the best possible outcome for you. Do not hesitate to contact us. We will handle every aspect of your case, from the first step to the very last court hearing.
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Business and Professions Code 25662 California
25662. (a) Except as provided in Section 25667, any person under the age of 21 years who has any alcoholic beverage in his or her possession on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school. A second or subsequent violation shall be punishable as a misdemeanor and the person shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service as the court deems just. It is the intent of the Legislature that the community service requirements prescribed in this section require service at an alcohol or drug treatment program or facility or at a county coroner’s office, if available, in the area where the violation occurred or where the person resides. This section does not apply to possession by a person under the age of 21 years making a delivery of an alcoholic beverage in pursuance of the order of his or her parent, responsible adult relative, or any other adult designated by the parent or legal guardian, or in pursuance of his or her employment. That person shall have a complete defense if he or she was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of his or her parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, or adult designee relating to disposition of the alcoholic beverage.
(b) Unless otherwise provided by law, where a peace officer has lawfully entered the premises, the peace officer may seize any alcoholic beverage in plain view that is in the possession of, or provided to, a person under the age of 21 years at social gatherings, when those gatherings are open to the public, 10 or more persons under the age of 21 years are participating, persons under the age of 21 years are consuming alcoholic beverages, and there is no supervision of the social gathering by a parent or guardian of one or more of the participants.
Where a peace officer has seized alcoholic beverages pursuant to this subdivision, the officer may destroy any alcoholic beverage contained in an opened container and in the possession of, or provided to, a person under the age of 21 years, and, with respect to alcoholic beverages in unopened containers, the officer shall impound those beverages for a period not to exceed seven working days pending a request for the release of those beverages by a person 21 years of age or older who is the lawful owner or resident of the property upon which the alcoholic beverages were seized. If no one requests release of the seized alcoholic beverages within that period, those beverages may be destroyed.
(c) The penalties imposed by this section do not preclude prosecution or the imposition of penalties under any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, Section 13202.5 of the Vehicle Code.