It is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Isla Vista and the State of California. The law forbids minors under 21 years of age from possessing or consuming alcohol in any public place. It is also unlawful for minors to purchase alcohol or hold an unopened alcohol container. Anyone who violates this law may be charged with a misdemeanor crime punishable by fines, community service, and further consequences depending on the circumstances.
At the Aron Law Firm, our Isla Vista criminal defense lawyers may protect your rights against unjust charges for “minors in possession.” We understand that trivial youthful lapses may profoundly affect a young person's future employment and education opportunities. If you or a loved one faces this criminal charge, we are committed to applying our extensive ability and knowledge to reduce the consequences of these allegations on your future.
What Is California's Minor in Possession of Alcohol Law?
Following California Business and Professions Code Section 25662, it is illegal for any minor under age 21 to possess alcohol in any public place. To garner a conviction, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements:
- You were under 21 at the time of the offense
- You possessed an alcoholic beverage
- The possession occurred on a street or highway or in any place open to the public
The prosecution doesn't need to prove that the minor was drinking the alcoholic beverage or had exceeded a particular level of intoxication for a guilty verdict to stand.
What Are the Potential Consequences for Minors in Possession of Alcohol in Isla Vista?
Per Business and Professions Code Section 25662, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to drink or possess alcohol in Isla Vista, California. Any violation of this law may result in the following penalties:
- A fine of $250 (or $500 for a subsequent offense)
- Community service from 24–32 hours that does not interfere with school or working hours (or from 36–48 hours for subsequent offenses)
- Participation in a youthful alcohol or drug treatment program
- A one-year driver's license suspension or a one-year suspension delaying entitlement to acquire a driver's license if you have not yet received one from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
While minors in possession of alcohol may only face penalties that include community service and fines, it is still a misdemeanor charge. That means a conviction becomes part of an offenders' criminal record. That mark on an otherwise clean criminal history may cost a young person future employment opportunities and admission into coveted universities.
Consequently, it is imperative to guard against any minor in possession charge with an accomplished criminal defense attorney who has experience defending these types of allegations.
Defending against Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Isla Vista, CA
The Aron Law Firm's criminal defense lawyers may successfully raise several defenses in a case involving underage possession. Some defense strategies entail arguing the implementation of the law, while others include debating the particular events of the case.
If you as a minor were accused of possession of alcohol in Isla Vista, the Aron Law Firm's criminal defense lawyers might utilize the following defenses:
- Lack of knowledge that the beverage possessed was alcoholic
- The incapability of prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who had control over the beverage
- The possessed drink was not, in fact, alcoholic
- You possessed alcohol for an approved limited purpose under the direction of a parent, caregiver or employer
- You did not possess the alcoholic beverage but were instead holding it for a friend, not realizing its content.
- Inadequate proof that the minor understood they were in possession of the alcoholic beverage
- Failure of law enforcement to maintain evidence of the beverage's alcoholic contents
- The alcohol was discovered during an illegal search and seizure or without legal justification
- You acted responsibly by calling 911 to report that you or another minor needed medical aid
Our Isla Vista criminal defense lawyers stress that there can be harsh consequences for a relatively common and lesser offense—especially when they're unwarranted. Many California allegations of minors in possession of alcohol involve circumstances in which a minor was never in control of alcohol in any way. Instead, they were spending time with others who were. Police will often name everyone present at a place where any minors have been drinking, even though they never saw a specific person possessing or drinking alcohol.
Contact Isla Vista Minor in Possession of Alcohol Attorneys
If you or someone you care about is facing charges as a minor in possession of alcohol in Isla Vista, we invite you to contact the criminal defense lawyers at the Aron Law Firm to learn your rights and available legal options. Our attorneys have a demonstrated track record of reducing the penalties related to minors in possession of alcohol, underage DUI cases, and more.
You can be confident in entrusting our legal team, headed by former Deputy District Attorney William M. Aron, with your case. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your situation, call today at (805) 618-1768 or fill out our online contact form.