Maximum Fine For Selling Alcohol To Minors
Under the California Penal Code (CPC) 25658, supplying minors (defined as an individual younger than 21 years old) with alcohol is a misdemeanor offence. This includes either selling the alcohol to the minor, purchasing alcohol as a minor, or someone possessing a professional liquor license knowingly allowing a minor to purchase alcohol. What may also be considered as a misdemeanor offence is not just selling alcohol, but also giving away alcohol to minors. Many undercover operations have caught individuals willing to buy alcohol and then giving it to a minor – who as it turns out was an undercover police officer. The offense of furnishing alcohol to a minor is classified as a strict liability offense, which does not require the prosecution to prove that the defendant knew the minor was indeed underage.
If caught violating CPC 25658, punishment will vary based on the context of the offense. If you hold a liquor license and sell a minor alcohol, you will pay a $250 fine and perform community service. However, if the defendant simply gave away alcohol to a minor, which is a misdemeanor, the defendant must pay a fine, that can reach a maximum of $1000, along with performing community service. If a minor purchases and/or consumes alcohol, they must pay a $250 fine and perform community service usually at an alcohol or drug treatment facility. Furthermore, if the defendant furnishes alcohol to minors and that minor then consumes the alcohol and causes great bodily injury or death to him or herself, or another person, the defendant can face a maximum one-year prison sentence and a fine of $1000.
As someone who sells alcohol, it is important for you to reasonably rely on a bona fide identification card by thoroughly following the necessary steps in determining the validity of such a card. If a minor approaches you on the street asking for alcohol, do not buy it for them. Following the law in this case is not just about the law, it is about the safety of minors and those around them.