Business and Professions Code 25661 BPC (Possession or Presentation of Fake ID by a Minor)

California Business and Professions Code 25661 BPC is the statute that makes it a crime for a minor to either:

  1. present a false ID for the purchase of alcohol; or,
  2. possess a false or fraudulent ID.

Examples of illegal acts under this code section include:

  • Although only 20, Darius uses his older brother's ID to try to purchase beer at a liquor store.
  • Mike is 19 but uses his 22-year-old friend's ID to get into a bar.
  • Sheila is 17 and uses a fake ID to try to get into a nightclub.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Business and Professions Code 25661. These include showing that an accused party was:

  • not a minor;
  • not purchasing alcohol; and/or,
  • arrested after an unlawful search or seizure.

Penalties

A minor that violates BPC 25661 will be charged with a misdemeanor (as opposed to a California felony or an infraction). A first-time committal of the offense is punishable by:

  • a maximum fine of $250; and/or,
  • performance of between 24 and 32 hours of community service.

A second or subsequent violation of this code section is punishable by:

  • a maximum fine of $500; and/or,
  • performance of between 36 and 48 hours of community service.

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

California drivers license

1. The legal definition of possession or presentation of a fake ID by a minor

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

In particular, a person is guilty under BPC 25661 if he is under the age of 21 and either:

  1. presents a false or fraudulent ID to a business for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, or attempting to purchase alcohol; or,
  2. possesses a false or fraudulent identification card.1

As to possession, most violations of Business and Professions Code 25661 involve actual possession. This means an accused was caught with an ID in his hand or within his reach (e.g., in a pocket, jacket, or bag).

2. Legal defenses

A person accused under Business and Professions Code 25661 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 25661 accusations are:

  1. not a minor;
  2. not purchasing alcohol; and/or,
  3. unlawful search or seizure.

2.1. Not a minor

Recall that Business and Professions Code 25661 only applies to minors. It is a perfectly valid defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he was 21 years of age or older when an alleged offense took place. Please note though that if an accused is 21 or over, and is caught having a fake ID in his possession, he can still be charged with a crime per California Penal Code 470(b).

2.2. Not purchasing alcohol

With regards to the presentation of a fake ID, a minor is guilty under BPC 25661 only if he presented the ID to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol. A legal defense, then, is for an accused to show that he was not using a fake ID to purchase alcohol. For example, maybe the defendant was showing a fake ID to purchase cigarettes.

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.

The Fourth Amendment's rule against unreasonable search and seizures means that police may not search a person or his property unless one of the following is true:

  1. they have obtained a valid search warrant from a judge, or
  2. the search falls within one of a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement recognized by federal and California courts.2
community service california minors
A violation of BPC 25661 can result in a fine and/or performance of community service

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

A minor that violates BPC 25661 will be charged with a misdemeanor.3 A first-time committal of the crime is punishable by:

  • a maximum fine of $250; and/or,
  • performance of between 24 and 32 hours of community service.4

A second or subsequent violation of this code section is punishable by:

  • a maximum fine of $500; and/or,
  • performance of between 36 and 48 hours of community service.5

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to the possession or presentation of a fake ID by a minor. These are:

  1. permitting a minor in a place where alcohol is consumed – BPC 25665;
  2. minor in possession of alcohol – BPC 25662; and,
  3. solicitating sale of alcohol – BPC 25657(a).

4.1. Permitting a minor in a place where alcohol is consumed – BPC 25665

California Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC makes it a crime for a minor to be on the premises of a business that is licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises (e.g., a bar or nightclub).

BPC 25665 penalizes both the business establishment and the minor.

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

  1. was licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises; and,
  2. it allowed a minor under the age of 21 to enter and remain in the bar/club.6

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

  1. was under the age of 21; and,
  2. entered and remained in the bar/club without lawful business inside.7

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 $1,000.8

A minor that violates BPC 25665 will be charged with a misdemeanor as well. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $200.9

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.10

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.11

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.12

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.13

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

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 possessing or presenting a fake ID while under the age of 21 in California? Call us for help…

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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 25661 BPC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.

For a review of similar laws in Nevada, please see our page on "Fake Identification" Laws in Nevada (NRS 205.460 - 205.465). And, for similar laws in Colorado, please see our page on Unlawful Acts with a False ID CRS 42–2–309.


Legal References:

  1. California Business and Professions Code 25661(a) BPC. This code section states: “Any person under the age of 21 years who presents or offers to any licensee, his or her agent or employee, any written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity which is false, fraudulent or not actually his or her own for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, attempting to purchase or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure, the serving of any alcoholic beverage, or who has in his or her possession any false or fraudulent written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of at least 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 nor more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed and is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service as determined by the court. A second or subsequent violation of this section 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 or is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service, as the court deems just. 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. E.g., Riley v. California (2014) 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2482. (“In the absence of a warrant, a search is reasonable only if it falls within a specific exception to the warrant requirement.”).

  3. California Business and Professions Code 25661(a) BPC.

  4. See same.

  5. See same.

  6. California Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC.

  7. See same.

  8. California Business and Professions Code 25617 BPC.

  9. California Business and Professions Code 25665 BPC.

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

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

  12. See same.

  13. 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.”

  14. California Business and Professions Code 25617 BPC.

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