California Business & Professions Code Section 25657(A) BPC: Soliciting Sale Of Alcohol
While alcohol consumption is legal for those who are 21 and older, California has placed numerous restrictions on how alcohol can be sold and promoted. One of these restrictions can be found in California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC, which makes it illegal for the owner of a bar or nightclub to employ someone whose job it is to solicit the sale of alcohol.
To prove that a defendant is guilty of soliciting the sale of alcohol in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC, a prosecutor would be required to prove either of the following:
- The defendant employed, upon on-sale premise, a person for the purpose of procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages
- OR the defendant paid such person a percentage or commission on the sale of alcoholic beverages for procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages on such premises.
An on-sale premise is an establishment licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, such as a bar or nightclub.2. Related Offenses
Other similar or related offenses include:
- Soliciting Purchase of Alcohol – California Penal Code Section 303(a) PC
- Selling Alcohol between 2:00 am and 6:00 am – California Business and Professions Code Section 25631 BPC
- Allowing Loitering to Solicit Alcohol from Patrons – California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(b) BPC
A man owns a bar that has been experiencing a decrease in sales. In order to boost sales, the man hires several models to come to his bar on weekend nights. The models are told to encourage patrons to buy expensive alcoholic cocktails. The models are paid a commission for each drink sold. Under this scheme, the bar owner could be charged criminally with soliciting the sale of alcohol in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC.
In another example, a man owns an upscale wine shop. The man hires a fulltime sommelier to assist customers in choosing a wine suited to their particular tastes. The sommelier is encouraged to direct customers to more expensive bottles and is paid a commission for each bottle sold. The wine shop is licensed as an off-license provider of alcohol and no alcohol consumption occurs on store premises. The shop owner would not be criminally liable under California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC because his store was not an on-sale premise where alcohol is sold and consumed.4. Defenses to Soliciting the Sale of Alcohol
As described above, if the defendant did not sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, he or she would not be guilty of this offense. Additionally, the fact that a bar host or hostess or bartender is encouraging patrons to buy drinks would not be considered a violation of this statute.5. How Soliciting the Sale of Alcohol Cases Are Defended
In many cases, undercover agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will conduct random checks of bars and clubs to ensure compliance with California Business and Professions Code Section 25657(a) BPC and other laws.
If any violation is discovered, the owner or manager of the business will be cited for the violation. He or she could be charged criminally as well as face a potential revocation of his or her liquor license.
The criminal charges would proceed in Superior Court just as any other misdemeanor case would. Because there is a degree of uncertainty as to how aggressively a bar or club employee is allowed to promote alcohol sales, an experienced attorney would be necessary to show how his or her client’s business practices did not violate the law.6. Penalties
It is a misdemeanor for an employee to solicit the sale of alcohol at an on-license premise. A conviction for this offense can result in a jail sentence of up to six months as well as expensive court fines. A citation for this offense can also be grounds for revocation of the business’ liquor license.7. Criminal Defense for Soliciting the Sale of Alcohol Cases
If you or your business has been cited for unlawfully soliciting alcohol sales, it is critical that you meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut knows how best to defend those charged with offenses like this and fights hard on behalf of his professional clients.
For more information about soliciting the sale of alcohol, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.