Business and Professions Code 25603 – Bringing Alcohol into a Penal Institution

Business and Professions Code 25603 BPC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to bring any alcoholic beverage into a penal institution.

The statute says:

“Every person, not authorized by law, who brings into any state prison, city or county jail, city and county jail, or reformatory in this State, or within the grounds belonging to any such institution, any alcoholic beverage is guilty of a felony.”

Examples of illegal acts under this code section include:

  • Nia visits her boyfriend in the county jail and tries to bring him hard alcohol.
  • Desmond enters the grounds of the state prison drinking a beer.
  • Phil goes to the city jail to see his sister and tries to bring in vodka in a water bottle.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under BPC 25603. These include showing that the defendant:

Penalties

A violation of this code section is charged as a felony (as opposed to an infraction or a California misdemeanor). The offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to three years, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.

In lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with felony (or formal) probation.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

bottle of alcohol stuffed in a coat pocket

1. What is prohibited under Business and Professions Code 25603 BPC?

Business and Professions Code 25603 BPC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to bring any alcoholic beverage into a penal institution, or on the grounds of the same.1

A “penal institution” includes any:

  • state prison,
  • city jail,
  • county jail, and
  • reformatory.2

2. Are there legal defenses to accusations of violating BPC 25603?

A person accused under this statute can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed.

There are three common defenses to accusations of violating BPC 25603. These are:

  1. no alcohol,
  2. falsely accused, and/or
  3. coerced confession.

2.1. No alcohol

A defendant can only be guilty under this code section if he tries to bring alcohol into a penal institution. This means it is always a legal defense for an accused to say that he did not have an alcoholic beverage.

2.2. Falsely accused

Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for people to get prosecuted based on false allegations. People get falsely accused out of

  • jealousy,
  • revenge, and
  • anger.

Thus, it is a valid defense for a defendant to say that a party falsely accused him of violating BPC 25603.

2.3. Coerced confession

California law states that police may not use overbearing measures to coerce a confession.

If a party can show that the police coerced him into a confession, then:

  1. the judge may exclude the confession from evidence, or
  2. the case could get dropped altogether if the party got pressured into confessing to a crime he didn't commit.
gavel laid on money
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

A violation of this code section is charged as a felony. The offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to three years, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.3

In lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with felony (or formal) probation.

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to bringing intoxicants into a penal institution. These are:

  1. bringing drugs into a jail or prison – PC 4573
  2. bringing contraband into a jail or prison – PC 4573.5, and
  3. bringing alcohol into a public schoolhouse – BPC 25608.

4.1. Bringing drugs into a jail or prison – PC 4573

Penal Code 4573 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to knowingly bring or send controlled substances into a jail or prison.4

A "controlled substance" is a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession and use are regulated by the government under the United States "Controlled Substances Act".

A violation of PC 4573 is a felony under California law.5

The crime is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for:

  • two years,
  • three years, or
  • four years.6

4.2. Bringing contraband into a jail or prison – PC 4573.5

Penal Code 4573.5 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to knowingly bring contraband into a jail or prison.7

Contraband” includes:

  • alcohol, and
  • any drugs, other than controlled substances.8

A violation of PC 4573.5 is a felony under California law.9

The crime is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for:

  • 16 months,
  • two years, or
  • three years.10

4.3. Bringing alcohol into a public schoolhouse – BPC 25608

California Business and Professions Code 25608 BPC makes it a crime for a person to

  • possess,
  • consume,
  • sell,
  • give, or
  • deliver

an alcoholic beverage while in a public schoolhouse, or while on the grounds of the public schoolhouse.11

A violation of Business and Professions Code 25608 is charged as a misdemeanor.12 The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

Were you accused of bringing intoxicants into a penal institution in California? Call us for help…

california legal defense
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Business and Professions Code 25603 BPC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.


Legal References:

  1. California Business and Professions Code 25603 BPC. This code section states: “Every person, not authorized by law, who brings into any state prison, city or county jail, city and county jail, or reformatory in this State, or within the grounds belonging to any such institution, any alcoholic beverage is guilty of a felony.”

  2. See same.

  3. California Penal Code 1170h PC.

  4. California Penal Code 4573 PC.

  5. See same.

  6. See same.

  7. California Penal Code 4573.5 PC.

  8. See same.

  9. See same.

  10. See same. See also California Penal Code 18 PC.

  11. California Business and Professions Code 25608 BPC.

  12. See same.

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