Underage Alcohol Offenses in California

As a DUI defense firm, we handle both standard and underage DUI cases. However, alcohol 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.

In this post, we 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.


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: 1) obtain alcohol, 2) gain entry into a club or bar, or 3) purchase alcohol from a licensed establishment.

Penalties for MIP or using a fake ID:

· You can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which would result in a criminal record,

· Your driver 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 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 license will be suspended automatically for one year, even though the minor was not driving under the influence.


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 of one of these offenses, it will lead to a criminal record. Consider how a conviction will look when you’re applying for college, or when you’re trying to become a doctor, an attorney, an accountant, or a credentialed teacher.

Even though a person may get a misdemeanor dismissed at a future date, they’re still required disclose their conviction to most government employers and licensing agencies, and it will still appear on the person’s record as a “dismissed.” If you’re 18 or older especially, an underage alcohol offense can turn up on certain background checks for years to come, and in effect, it can obstruct future opportunities.

Related: How Underage DUI Affects Auto Insurance

Need an Orange County DUI attorney? Contact our firm today for a free DUI consultation.

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