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Minor in Possesion of Alcohol

The other most common charge for which people get arrested at CoachellaStagecoach or Desert Trip is being a minor in possession of alcohol (Business and Professions Code [BP] 25662).  Sometimes minors are successful in obtaining wristbands.  Or they hang out in the camping areas or parking lots, where wristbands aren't needed.  Then they feel like they can get away with drinking.  Be certain that undercover and uniformed cops are everywhere looking for law violators.  If you look under 21, they will approach you and ask for ID.  Every year I have several clients who were caught with a beer in the parking lot or camping area.  Sometimes the cop sees them crack open the beer and they get arrested at Coachella or Stagecoach before even taking a sip.  The law is very clear: don't be a minor in possession of alcohol.

While underage drinking may seem to be the norm on college campuses, it is very much illegal and carries very serious consequences.  In California, for a first time violation of Business and Professions Code 25662 (the underage drinking code section), a first time offender is facing 24-36 hours of community service in a drug and alcohol facility or at a local coroner’s office, plus fines of $250 plus court costs and fees.  A conviction for minor in possession of alcohol also carries a one year suspension of a driver’s license.  Or, if a person does not yet have their license, it will cause a one year delay upon application for a license.

In addition to the court and DMV penalties, a conviction of a misdemeanor has the very real possibility of affecting your future.  All criminal convictions show up on background checks, meaning you will always be haunted by a youthful indiscretion.  Colleges and employers will always see the criminal conviction on your record.

There are defenses to the alleged violation of a minor in possession of alcohol.

1) You did not actually possess the alcohol in question.  Being around other minors who possess alcohol is not enough to substantiate a conviction for minor in possession of alcohol.

2) A legal defense to minor in possession of alcohol is that you possessed the alcohol in question at the request of your parent or guardian, or as a part of your job.  This defense is an exception written into BP Code 25662.

For More Information regarding minor in possession of alcohol laws, contact the Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache for a free consultation.