Business and Professions Code 25658.2 – Permitting Consumption of Alcohol by Minor Children with Subsequent Vehicle Collision

Business and Professions Code 25658.2 BPC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a parent or guardian to:

  1. allow a minor to consume alcohol or take drugs at the parent's or guardian's home, and
  2. then allow the minor to drive and the minor causes a traffic collision.

According to this statute:

“A parent or legal guardian who knowingly permits his or her child, or a person in the company of the child, or both, who are under the age of 18 years, to consume an alcoholic beverage or use a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian is guilty of misdemeanor if all of the following occur:

(1) As the result of the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or use of a controlled substance…the child or other underage person has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater…or is under the influence of a controlled substance.

(2) The parent knowingly permits that child or other underage person, after leaving the parent's or legal guardian's home, to drive a vehicle.

(3) That child or underage person is found to have caused a traffic collision while driving the vehicle.”

Examples of illegal acts under this code section are:

  • James lets his 16-year-old daughter drink beer at his house, then allows her to drive to a friend's house and she causes an accident.
  • Nia, age 17, collides with another car after her mom drinks wine with her at home and then asks her to drive to the store.
  • Jerome allows his 15-year-old son to drink wine coolers at home, and then the son hits a car after the dad gives him permission to drive.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Business and Professions Code 25658.2. These include showing that:

  • the so-called child was not a minor,
  • the parent did not give a child permission to consume alcohol, and/or
  • the parent or guardian was arrested after an unlawful search or seizure.

Penalties

A violation of BPC 25658.2 is charged as a misdemeanor (as opposed to an infraction or a California felony).

The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

Note that in lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with misdemeanor (or summary) probation.

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

minor staring intently at alcohol

1. What is prohibited under Business and Professions Code 25658.2?

Business and Professions Code 25658.2 BPC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a parent or guardian to:

  1. allow a minor to consume alcohol at the parent's or guardian's home, and
  2. then allow the minor to drive and the minor causes a traffic collision.1

Please note that a parent or guardian is only guilty under this statute if, after consumption of alcohol/drugs, the:

2. Are there legal defenses if accused of violating BPC 25658.2?

Three common defenses to accusations under this statute are:

  1. not a minor,
  2. no permission, and/or
  3. unlawful search or seizure

2.1. Not a minor

Business and Professions Code 25658.2 only applies when a parent or guardian gives a minor permission to consume alcohol or drugs. A minor is any person under the age of 21. This means it is always a defense for an accused to show that, while he may have allowed a person to drink alcohol at his home, that person was not a minor.

2.2. No permission

Please recall that a parent or guardian is only guilty under this statute if he knowingly allows a minor to consume alcohol or drugs. It is a legal defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he never allowed or permitted a minor to use alcohol/drugs.

2.3. Unlawful search or seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement. If authorities obtain evidence from an unreasonable, or unlawful search and seizure, then that evidence can get excluded from a criminal case. This means that any charges in the case could get reduced or even dismissed.

money under a gavel

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

A violation of BPC 25658.2 is charged as a misdemeanor.

The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.3

Note that in lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with misdemeanor (or summary) probation.

4. Related offenses

There are three crimes related to allowing a minor to consume alcohol with a subsequent collision. These are:

  1. selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor – BPC 25658,
  2. bringing alcohol into a public schoolhouse – BPC 25608, and
  3. minor in possession law – BPC 25662.

4.1. Selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor – BPC 25658

Business and Professions Code 25658 is the California statute that makes it a crime for someone to sell or give alcohol to a minor.

BPC 25658 applies both to people who provide alcohol to the minor, as well as to minors who purchase, possess or consume alcohol.4

A violation of this statute is a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

4.2. Bringing alcohol into a public schoolhouse – BPC 25608

California Business and Professions Code 25608 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.5

A violation of BPC 25608 is charged as a misdemeanor.6 The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

4.3. Minor in possession law – BPC 25662

California Business and Professions Code 25662 is the California statute governing the possession of alcohol by minors when in a public place. Under this section, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to have alcohol in his possession when on a California:

  • street,
  • highway,
  • public place, or
  • place open to the public.7

A first-time violation of BPC 25662 is an infraction punishable by a fine of $250 or community service.8

Were you accused of permitting a minor to consume alcohol or drugs in your California home and there was a subsequent vehicle collision? Call us for help…

criminal defense attorneys
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 25658.2 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 25658.2 BPC. This code section states: “A parent or legal guardian who knowingly permits his or her child, or a person in the company of the child, or both, who are under the age of 18 years, to consume an alcoholic beverage or use a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian is guilty of misdemeanor if all of the following occur:

    (1) As the result of the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or use of a controlled substance at the home of the parent or legal guardian, the child or other underage person has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater, as measured by a chemical test, or is under the influence of a controlled substance.

    (2) The parent knowingly permits that child or other underage person, after leaving the parent's or legal guardian's home, to drive a vehicle.

    (3) That child or underage person is found to have caused a traffic collision while driving the vehicle.

    (b) A person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not to exceed one year, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both imprisonment and fine.”

  2. See same.

  3. See same.

  4. California Business and Professions Code 25658 BPC.

  5. California Business and Professions Code 25608 BPC.

  6. See same.

  7. California Business and Profession Code 25662 BPC.

  8. See same.

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