A shopkeeper may face criminal liability when a person under the age of 21 attempts to purchase alcohol. A violation of Business & Professions Code section 25658(a) is a misdemeanor but may affect the store owners liquor license as well. Sometimes, if it is known in the community that minors or college students are purchasing alcohol from a local liquor store, a sting operation may be set up. When the defendant is charged with BP Code 25658(a), the People must prove the following:
- The defendant unlawfully sold or furnished or gave away or caused to be sold an alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21 and
- When the defendant did so, the person who received the alcoholic beverage was under 21 years old.
The defendant is not guilty of this crime if he/she reasonably and actually believed that the person was at least 21 years old. The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably and actually believe that.
Defense In Reliance on Identification:
A person does not unlawfully sell, furnish, give away, or cause to be sold an alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years old if:
- The defendant or his employee or agent demanded to see a government-issued document as evidence of the person’s age and identity;
- The purchaser showed the defendant, his employee or agent a government-issued document, or what appeared to be a government-issued document, as evidence of his/her age and identity; and
- The defendant actually relied on the document as evidence of the person’s age and identity.
As used here, a government-issued document is a document includes a driver’s license or an identification card issued to a person in the armed forces that has been, or appears to have been, issued by a government agency and contains the person’s name, date of birth, description, and picture. The government-issued document does not have to be genuine.
An agent is a person who is authorized to act for the defendant in dealings with other people.
The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not actually rely on a government-issued document, or what appeared to be a government-issued document. If the People have not met this burden, the store-owner is not guilty of this crime.
The Khachatourians Law group represents individuals arrested for alcohol related incidents’ arising in Los Angeles County and it various courthouses located in Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Torrance, Inglewood, San Fernando, Van Nuys, and downtown Los Angeles. If you have been cited for drunk in public (PC647), selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor (B&P Code 25658), or have a minor in possession of alcohol (B&P Code 25662), call the defense team at KLG for a defense evaluation. If you have already pled guilty or no contest to the charges, please contact us to inquire about post-conviction relief which may include expunging your criminal conviction (Penal Code 1203.4) or sealing your juvenile record.