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Underage Drinking Offenses in California

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 Section 25662.

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 DUI, and
  • 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!