In a recent survey taken, nearly half of all high school students have reported that they have tried alcohol at one point or another in their lives. Although many underage teens and children drink, the legal age to drink and purchase alcohol in the state of California is 21. In some instances, people who are under the age of 21 are not even allowed to be in places that serve alcohol, with some exceptions applying.
It is also illegal to supply anyone under the age of 21 with alcohol. Parents who supply alcohol are held criminally liable for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If the underage drinker is involved in a traffic collision, the parent or guardian who supplied the alcohol could face a misdemeanor charge and receive up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If someone between the ages of 13-21 is caught violating the law, they could receive a Minor in Possession (MIP) offense and have their license suspended or delayed for up to a year. The suspension of a license can still occur even if an automobile is not involved in the offense. Along with the suspension or delay of a license, the person may be fined up to $250 or be forced to perform community service.
Bar operators can also be held criminally liable for to the delinquency of a minor by supplying alcohol to underage patrons. The bar operator can be held civilly liable for any injuries sustained if the patron were to be involved in an automobile accident. If the patron was under 18 and obviously intoxicated, the bar operator can be sued for any resulting injuries or death if the patron is involved in an automobile accident.
If you have a question about alcohol laws in California or how we might be able to help you with your case, please call Wallin & Klarich at 888-280-6839. We can make the difference between jail and freedom.