Legal Penalties For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol

When a person reaches the legal drinking age, it is often considered to be the time when they finally become an adult. That is debatable of course, but the implication is that it takes an adult to understand the risks of alcohol consumption, which means that an adult will drink responsibly. That is unfortunately, not always true, but nonetheless, the law, and society in general, trusts adults more than minors with the possession and consumption of alcohol. 

That is why minors face legal consequences for the possession of alcohol. The penalties they will face are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but they will give the minor a permanent criminal record. That is why a minor who is charged with the possession of alcohol should fight that charge because a criminal record is harmful to their future. If you live in California and you are a minor or the parent of a minor that was charged with alcohol possession, then you should contact criminal defense lawyer Bajaj to provide the robust defense that you need.

The Penalties for a Minor in Possession of Alcohol in California

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Any minor in California who is convicted of the possession of alcohol faces the following penalties:

  • A $250 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine for any subsequent offenses.
  • Community service of 24 to 32 hours at an alcohol or drug treatment centre or the county coroner’s office. The time is increased to 36 to 48 hours for subsequent offenses.
  • Mandatory participation in a youth drunk driver program.
  • A suspension of their driver’s licence for one year or a one year delay of eligibility for a driver’s licence if they have not yet received one.

These charges may be less serious than other alcohol-related offences for adults, but they will end up giving the minor a permanent criminal record, which could affect their job prospects in the future.

How an Attorney Can Help a Minor Charged With Possession of Alcohol

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Since the charge of possession of alcohol can have such a profound effect on the minor’s life, it is best if they or their parents fight the charge by hiring an attorney. An attorney can provide a credible defense against the charge to argue why it should be dismissed. One of the most common arguments for dismissal is that the alcoholic beverage the minor was holding belonged to someone else. A minor must wholly or jointly possess alcohol in order to be charged, merely being around others who are in possession of alcohol is not sufficient grounds for a charge.

Another argument is that a minor cannot be charged for possession of alcohol if they were in possession of the alcohol for a limited time for an approved and authorized purpose. For example, if they were carrying the alcohol for a parent or caregiver or as a function of their job. If the alcohol was found during an illegal search and seizure operation, then the minor cannot be charged with possession of alcohol since it was discovered in an unlawful way.

If a minor does end up charged with the possession of alcohol, then an attorney can help to seal the minor’s criminal records so that the charge does not end up negatively affecting their life. An attorney can also have the minor’s criminal records expunged once they become an adult. 

Contact an Attorney to Fight Back Against a Possession of Alcohol Charge

 Legal Penalties For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol
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The short term repercussions of a minor being charged with the possession of alcohol may be relatively minor, but the long term consequences can be quite serious. A possession of alcohol charge leaves the minor with a criminal record that could affect their employment prospects and lead to the loss of certain rights and privileges. 

That is why the charge needs to be fought as vigorously as possible so that this relatively small charge does not end up ruining their life. So any minor or the parent of a minor needs to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to help them fight the charge so that they can have a normal life.