Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC
(Permitting a Minor in a Place Where Alcohol is Consumed)

California Business and Professions Code 25665 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a minor to be on the premises of a bar or nightclub.

The code section penalizes both the bar/nightclub and the minor.

Examples of illegal acts under BPC 25665 include:

  • a nightclub does not check for IDs at the door and ends up letting in several patrons that are under the age of 21.
  • Chantel, age 20, sneaks into a bar and socializes with other customers for the night.
  • a bouncer of a club lets his friend in even though the friend is only 19.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Business and Professions Code 25665. These include showing that an accused party was:

  • not an on-sale premise;
  • conducting lawful business; and/or,
  • was arrested without probable cause.

Penalties

The owner of a bar or club that violates the statute in question will be charged with a misdemeanor (as opposed to a California felony or an infraction). The crime is punishable by:

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

A minor that violates the statute will be charged with a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $200.

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

minors drinking beer at bar
California Business and Professions Code 25665 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a minor to be on the premises of a bar or nightclub.

1. The legal definition of permitting a minor in a place where alcohol is consumed

California Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC makes it a crime for either:

  1. a bar or club to allow a minor on the establishment's premises; or,
  2. a minor to enter the premises of a bar or club.

Please note that both an establishment and a minor can violate this code section.

For a prosecutor to show that a business violated BPC 25665, he must prove that the owner of a bar or club:

  • was licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises; and,
  • it allowed a minor under the age of 21 to enter and remain in the bar/club.1

For a prosecutor to show that a minor violated the law, he must prove that the minor:

  • was under the age of 21; and,
  • entered and remained in the bar/club without lawful business inside.2

BPC 25665 applies to “on-sale premises.” California law defines an “on-sale premise” as an establishment that is licensed to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption on the premises where they are sold.3 This typically means a bar or nightclub.

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under Business and Professions Code 25665 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed. Please note, though, that it is critical for an accused to hire an attorney to get the most effective defense.

Three common defenses to BPC 25665 accusations are:

  1. not an on-sale premise;
  2. conducting lawful business; and/or,
  3. no probable cause.

2.1. Not an on-sale premise

Please recall that Business and Professions Code 25665 only applies to “on-sale premises” (as defined above). This means it is a legal defense for an establishment to show that while it allowed a minor on its premises, it was not in fact an “on-sale premises.” This would apply, for example, to most liquor stores.

2.2. Conducting lawful business

Also recall, that in regard to a minor violating BPC 25665, a prosecutor must show that he entered and remained in a bar/club “without lawful business inside.” This means a person under the age of 21 can still enter a bar if he has some lawful business inside the establishment. A good example here is a minor that is legally aiding in the delivery of a keg, or cases of wine, to a club or bar.

2.3. No probable cause

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that police must have probable cause before they can detain or arrest a suspect of a crime.

If a person was stopped or arrested for violating BPC 25665, and there was no probable cause, then any evidence obtained following the improper stop/arrest could get excluded from the case. This exclusion could result in the dismissal or reduction in charges.

“Probable cause” essentially means that there is a reasonable belief that someone committed a crime (based on all of the circumstances).

man behind bars
A violation of this law can result in jail time and/or a fine

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

The owner of a bar or club that violates BPC 25665 will be charged with a misdemeanor. The offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.4

Please note that in lieu of jail time a judge may order a defendant to misdemeanor probation. This is also called “summary” or “informal” probation.

A minor that violates BPC 25665 will be charged with a misdemeanor as well. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $200.5

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to permitting a minor in a place where alcohol is consumed. These are:

  1. minor possessing or presenting a fake ID – BPC 25661;
  2. minor in possession of alcohol – BPC 25662; and,
  3. soliciting sale of alcohol – BPC 25657(a).

4.1. Minor possessing or presenting a fake ID – BPC 25661

California Business and Professions Code 25661 makes it a crime for a minor to possess or present a false identification card.

A person is guilty under BPC 25661 if he is under the age of 21 and either:

  1. presents a fraudulent ID to a business for the purpose of buying, or attempting to buy, alcohol; or,
  2. possesses a false or fraudulent identification card.6

A violation of Business and Professions Code 25661 is charged as a misdemeanor.7 The offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $200.8

4.2. Minor in possession of alcohol – BPC 25662

California Business and Professions Code 25662 BPC is the California statute governing the possession of alcohol by minors when in a public place.

A prosecutor must prove three things to successfully show that a minor is violating BPC 25662. These are:

  1. The defendant was under the age of 21 (at the time of the incident);
  2. The defendant possessed an alcoholic beverage; and,
  3. The defendant was on a street, highway, public place, or a place open to the public.9

A first-time violation of BPC 25662 is treated as a California infraction. The offense is punishable by:

  • a fine of $250, or
  • 24-32 hours of community service.10

A second or subsequent violation of BPC 25662 is charged as a misdemeanor. The offense is punishable by:

  • a maximum fine of $500, and/or
  • 36-48 hours of community service.11

4.3. Soliciting sale of alcohol – BPC 25657(a)

California Business and Professions Code 25657(a) is the California statute that makes it a crime for the owner of a bar or club to hire or pay someone to solicit alcohol.

BPC 25657(a) says it is a criminal offense for a bar or club to:

  1. employ a person to directly solicit the purchase of alcoholic drinks; or,
  2. pay such a person a commission on the sale of alcoholic drinks.12

Please note that “solicit,” in the context of this statute, means to urge or request someone to drink alcohol.

Like Business and Professions Code 25665, BPC 25657(a) applies to “on-sale premises.” Again, California law defines an “on-sale premise” as an establishment that is licensed to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption on the premises where they are sold.13 This typically means a bar or nightclub.

A violation of BPC 25657(a) is charged as a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.14

Were you accused of permitting a minor in a place where alcohol is consumed in California? Call us for help…

california criminal defense attorneys
Call us at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Business and Professions Code 25657(a) 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 25665 BPC. This section states: “Any licensee under an on–sale license issued for public premises, as defined in Section 23039, who permits a person under the age of 21 years to enter and remain in the licensed premises without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person under the age of 21 years who enters and remains in the licensed public premises without lawful business therein is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200), no part of which shall be suspended.”

  2. See same.

  3. California Business and Professions Code 23399 BPC.

  4. California Business and Professions Code 25617 BPC.

  5. California Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC.

  6. California Business and Professions Code 25661 BPC.

  7. See same.

  8. See same.

  9. California Business and Professions Code 25662(a) BPC.

  10. California Business and Professions Code 25662(a) BPC.

  11. See same.

  12. California Business and Professions Code 25657(a) BPC. This code section states: “It is unlawful…For any person to employ, upon any licensed on–sale premises, any person for the purpose of procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages, or to pay any such person a percentage or commission on the sale of alcoholic beverages for procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages on such premises.”

  13. California Business and Professions Code 23399 BPC.

  14. California Business and Professions Code 25617 BPC.

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