December 12, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

Under Business and Professions Code 25662, it is illegal for a person under the legal drinking age of 21 to be in possession of an alcoholic beverage while on any street, highway, or public place. As a misdemeanor, a first-time offender will be subject to a fine of $250 or will be required to perform between 24 to 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not working or attending school.

In addition to the prescribed penalties, a conviction for underaged possession of alcohol may also result in a one-year suspension of that person’s California driver’s license. The details of this penalty are codified under California Vehicle Code 13202.5. Specifically intended for persons who are under the age of 21, but older than 12 years of age, this code section is applicable to convictions that includes not only possession of alcohol, but also public intoxication (PC 647) and vehicular manslaughter (PC 191.5 and 192.5).

Determinations made in juvenile court may also qualify as “convictions” for purposes of this code section.

If the person convicted has not yet been licensed, the court will likely order the DMV to delay issuing a license for one year subsequent to the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive.

However, it is possible for the person affected to request a modification of the order to delay driving privileges or to convince the court to issue a junior permit upon a showing of a “critical need to drive.”

Losing your ability to legally drive a motor vehicle in California for a period of one year is easily a debilitating penalty. It is therefore imperative that you seek the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight your conviction or alleviate the severe repercussions a conviction would have on your driving privileges. At Wallin & Klarich, our Orange County attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and will provide you with poised and aggressive representation. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit us online at We will be there for you when you call.

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