California Business & Professions Code Section 25631 BPC: Selling Alcohol Between 2:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M.

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimealcohol sale

While prohibition in California and the United States was repealed after the adoption of the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, there are still numerous laws which restrict how alcohol can be sold and consumed. One of these restrictions exists under California Business and Professions Code Section 25631 BPC, which makes it a misdemeanor offense to sell alcohol between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The following elements must be established beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a defendant to be convicted of selling alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

  1. The defendant was an on- or off-sale licensee, or agent, or employee of the licensee
  2. AND the defendant sold, gave or delivered to any person an alcoholic beverage between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

When daylights savings hours go into effect, under this statute “2:00 a.m.” means two hours after midnight of the day preceding the day such change occurs.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol – California Penal Code Section 303(a) PC
  2. Soliciting Sale of Alcohol – California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC
3. Examples

A man owns and operates a liquor store. The man is working one Saturday evening when he realizes that daylight savings is scheduled to end at 2:00 a.m. that morning, and the clocks will be set back one hour. The man usually closes his store at 2:00 a.m. When the clock strikes 2:00 a.m., the man sets his clock back and stays open for an additional hour. During this time he sells alcoholic beverages to various customers. This man could be charged under California Business and Professions Code Section 25631 BPC because on days where the time changes, “2:00 a.m.” means two hours after midnight on the previous day. Thus it was illegal to keep selling alcohol for an additional hour.

In another example, a man owns a liquor store. He closes his store at 2:00 a.m. each morning and does not sell alcohol after closing. One day after closing the store at 2:00 a.m., the man goes to a friend’s late night party. The man takes a case of beer from the store and brings it to the party. He arrives at the party at 2:30 a.m. and gives the beer to his friend. This man would not be criminally liable under California Business and Professions Code Section 25631 BPC because even though he provided alcohol between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., he was not acting in the capacity of an on- or off-sale licensee when he did this.

4. Defenses to Selling Alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

As described above, if the defendant provided alcohol between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. but did not do so while acting as a licensed purveyor of alcohol, he or she would not be guilty of this offense.

5. How Selling Alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Cases Are Defended

Typically, a charge of selling alcohol between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. may be filed after an investigation is conducted by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control or a local law enforcement agency. Criminal charges may be filed by a prosecutor from the California Attorney General’s office or from a local prosecutorial agency.

The defendant would be arraigned in court and would be entitled to a trial before a judge or jury. In defending cases like this, an effective defense attorney would challenge the state’s evidence and show why a violation may not have occurred or why the defendant’s conduct did not violate the statute.

6. Penalties

Selling alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. is a misdemeanor level offense. Those convicted can be sentenced to up to six months in jail in addition to costly fines. In addition, a conviction for this offense may result in the defendant’s liquor license being revoked.

7. Criminal Defense for Selling Alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Cases

If you have been cited for selling alcohol between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., it is crucial that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. Conviction of this offense can lead to revocation of a person’s or business’ liquor license. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut possesses the skills and legal knowledge to properly defend individuals and businesses charged with offenses like this.

For more information about selling alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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