California Underage Drinking Laws

California Underage Alcohol Consumption While Driving

Just like many other states in the US, California has set up several drinking laws prohibiting people less than 21 years of age from drinking or possessing alcohol.

It is illegal in California State for any minor to be in possession of alcohol in a public place. To prove elements of an underage drinking offence, the prosecution has to establish that the defendant was below 21 years of age when the offence happened. The defendant must have possessed the alcohol beverage and must have been in a place open to the public, including a highway or street. Based on this, Sacramento underage drinking laws can allow minors to possess an alcoholic beverage in their home as this is not illegal in California.

According to the California alcohol laws, a first offence of underage drinking in a public place can result in a $250 fine and about 24 to 32 hours of community service. A second or subsequent offence may result in up to $500 fine and 36 to 48 hours of community service. Additionally, an underage drinking conviction can lead to a one-year driving license suspension.

California alcohol laws also prohibit underage motorists from consuming alcohol. A motorist caught driving with a blood content of .01 percent alcohol, or higher can face a charge of infraction of California’s zero-tolerance law. The charge can result in up to $250 fine and loss of the person’s driving privileges for a year or more.

Underage motorists can face charges of underage DUI if found with a blood alcohol content of .05 per cent or higher. Such a conviction may result in a one-year suspension of license, a fine between $100 and $300 as well as the requirement to complete an alcohol education program.

It is also not legal for a minor to possess an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle. Under this law, there are certain exceptions. For instance, if the juvenile was in the company of a parent and the transportation was occurring for the parent’s work or the minor was instructed by their employer, parent or guardian to transport the alcohol. A juvenile convicted with this crime can be jailed for up to six months, a maximum fine of $1,000, impounding the vehicle used to transport the alcohol, and suspension of the driver’s license.

It is illegal for parents to permit their child or anyone less than 18 years of age to consume alcohol or any other drugs in their home, or allow the child under the influence of drugs to drive a car. A conviction of such offence may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one-year jail time.


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