As an Orange County
DUI defense firm, we spend a lot of time writing about driving under the influence
of alcohol and
drugs (DUI) in California; we also discuss
underage DUI offenses. However, alcohol-related offenses for underage drinkers (under
the age of 21) are not limited to DUI – there are other alcohol-related
offenses committed by teenagers that deserve mention here.
In this post, we’d like to discuss minor in possession (MIP) and
using a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Whether you’re a parent of
a teenage son or daughter, or you are under the age of 21 yourself, it’s
important to know what the law says about these alcohol-related offenses.
California’s Underage Alcohol Offenses
Under California law, if someone is under the age of 21 and they are caught
drinking alcohol, they can be cited for misdemeanor minor in possession
of alcohol under the California Business and Professions Code
Not only is it illegal for people under the age of 21 to consume alcohol,
it’s illegal for people under the age of 21 to use a fake ID to:
obtain alcohol, gain entry into a club or bar, or purchase alcohol from
a licensed establishment.
Penalties for MIP or using a fake ID:
- You can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which would appear on your criminal record,
- Your driver’s license can be suspended for one year, even if you
were not driving at the time of the offense,
If you were driving, you can be prosecuted for
If a police officer caught you drinking alcohol in public, you can be cited
for MIP and havening
and for having an open container.
Note: Under Vehicle Code Section 13202.5, if a minor is convicted of an alcohol-related
offense, such as consuming or purchasing alcohol, or possessing an open
container in public, the minor’s driver’s license will be
suspended automatically for one year, even though the minor was not driving at the time of the offense.
Why You Want to Avoid a Conviction
A conviction for MIP or using a fake ID may seem like “no big deal,”
but we assure you they are. If you are convicted for one of these offenses
it will remain on your criminal record. Consider how that conviction will
look on your record when you’re applying for graduate school, or
when you’re trying to become a doctor, an attorney, an accountant,
or a credentialed teacher.
Even though a person may be able to get a California misdemeanor dismissed
later on, they still must disclose their conviction to government employers
and licensing agencies, and it will still appear on the person’s
record as a “dismissed.”
So, it will still be found by any agency or employer that has access to
someone’s criminal record. Just imagine how this would look if you
applied for a security clearance one day!
Facing charges for MIP or using a fake ID to purchase alcohol?
Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for an aggressive defense!