California Business & Professions Code 25658 BPC makes it a misdemeanor for 1) people to sell or give alcohol to people under 21; 2) alcohol vendors to allow people under 21 to drink on the premises; or 3) people under 21 to buy alcohol or consume it on the premises of where the alcohol was purchased.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
BPC 25658 (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, or given away any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Except as provided in Section 25667 or 25668, any person under 21 years of age who purchases any alcoholic beverage, or any person under 21 years of age who consumes any alcoholic beverage in any on-sale premises, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by purchasing any alcoholic beverage for, or furnishing, giving, or giving away any alcoholic beverage to, a person under 21 years of age, and the person under 21 years of age thereafter consumes the alcohol and thereby proximately causes great bodily injury or death to themselves or any other person, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(d) Any on-sale licensee who knowingly permits a person under 21 years of age to consume any alcoholic beverage in the on-sale premises, whether or not the licensee has knowledge that the person is under 21 years of age, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(e)(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) or (3), or Section 25667 or 25668, any person who violates this section shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250), no part of which shall be suspended, or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of a fine and community service as determined by the court. A second or subsequent violation of subdivision (b), where prosecution of the previous violation was not barred pursuant to Section 25667 or 25668, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or the person shall be required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of a fine and community service as determined by the court. It is the intent of the Legislature that the community service requirements prescribed in this section require service at an alcohol or drug treatment program or facility or at a county coroner’s office, if available, in the area where the violation occurred or where the person resides.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), any person who violates subdivision (a) by furnishing an alcoholic beverage, or causing an alcoholic beverage to be furnished, to a minor shall be punished by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), no part of which shall be suspended, and the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school.
(3) Any person who violates subdivision (c) shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a minimum term of six months not to exceed one year, by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both imprisonment and fine.
(f) Persons under 21 years of age may be used by peace officers in the enforcement of this section to apprehend licensees, or employees or agents of licensees, or other persons who sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to minors. Notwithstanding subdivision (b), any person under 21 years of age who purchases or attempts to purchase any alcoholic beverage while under the direction of a peace officer is immune from prosecution for that purchase or attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Guidelines with respect to the use of persons under 21 years of age as decoys shall be adopted and published by the department in accordance with the rulemaking portion of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code). Law enforcement-initiated minor decoy programs in operation prior to the effective date of regulatory guidelines adopted by the department shall be authorized as long as the minor decoy displays to the seller of alcoholic beverages the appearance of a person under 21 years of age. This subdivision shall not be construed to prevent the department from taking disciplinary action against a licensee who sells alcoholic beverages to a minor decoy prior to the department’s final adoption of regulatory guidelines. After the completion of every minor decoy program performed under this subdivision, the law enforcement agency using the decoy shall notify licensees within 72 hours of the results of the program. When the use of a minor decoy results in the issuance of a citation, the notification required shall be given to licensees and the department within 72 hours of the issuance of the citation. A law enforcement agency may comply with this requirement by leaving a written notice at the licensed premises addressed to the licensee, or by mailing a notice addressed to the licensee.
(g) The penalties imposed by this section do not preclude prosecution or the imposition of penalties under any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, Section 272 of the Penal Code.
California Business & Professions Code 25658 BPC makes it a misdemeanor crime when:
- Anyone sells or provides alcohol to people under 21 years old;
- Alcohol vendors permit underage drinking on the premises; or
- People under 21 buy alcohol or consume it on the premises of where they bought it.
Penalties typically include fines and community service:
|BPC 25658 crime || Misdemeanor Sentence in California |
|Alcohol vendor allows underage drinking on the premises|| |
|Selling or giving alcohol to people under 21||If the under person’s drinking causes great bodily injury or death to anyone: |
|People under 21 buying alcohol or consuming it on the premises||First offense: |
Second or subsequent offense:
Note that vendors facing BPC 25658 charges can raise as a defense that they reasonably relied on the minor’s ID, which appeared to be genuine.2 And underage defendants are immune from prosecution for buying alcohol – or drinking it on the premises – if:
- they call 911 to report that either they or another person requires medical attention due to alcohol consumption;
- they are the first person to make the 911 report;
- they remain at the scene until medical assistance arrives and cooperate with them and the police; and
- neither they – nor the other minor – was involved in an activity made dangerous because of alcohol consumption (such as DUI).3
- California Business & Professions Code 25658 BPC – Sale to and consumption by person under 21 years of age; Use by peace officers to apprehend sellers of alcoholic beverages to minors. See also Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control v. Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Bd. (Cal. App. 3d Dist. Nov. 17, 2017), 226 Cal. Rptr. 3d 527, 18 Cal. App. 5th 541. See also In re Jennifer S. (Cal. App. 1st Dist. Nov. 10, 2009), 179 Cal. App. 4th 64, 101 Cal. Rptr. 3d 467.
- 25660 BPC.
- 25667 BPC.