California Business & Professions Code Section 25665 BPC: Permitting Minor In On-Sale Establishment

1. Definition and Elements of the CrimePermitting Minor In On-Sale Establishment

There are many laws designed to prevent situations where minors have easy access to alcohol or where alcohol consumption occurs around minors. One example is found in California Business and Professions Code Section 25665 BPC, which makes it illegal to allow minors to be on the premises of an establishment this is licensed for on-sale alcohol consumption.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of permitting a minor in an on-sale establishment, the following elements would have to be established by a prosecutor:

  1. The defendant was a licensee under an on-sale license issued for public premises
  2. AND the defendant permitted a minor under the age of 21 years to enter and remain in the licensed premises without lawful business therein

Those who are under 21 and caught in an on-license establishment can also be prosecuted under this statute. To convict a defendant under this scenario, the following elements must be present:

  1. The defendant was a minor under the age of 21 years
  2. AND the defendant entered and remained in the licensed public premises without lawful business therein.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Selling or Furnishing an Alcoholic Beverage to a Person Under 21 – California Business and Professions Code Section 25658(a) BPC
  2. Purchase or Consumption of an Alcoholic Beverage by a Person Under 21 – California Business and Professions Code Section 25658(b) BPC
  3. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – California Penal Code Section 272 PC
3. Examples

A man owns a bar that features live music on weekends and is licensed to sell alcohol for on-site consumption. While the man orders his bartenders not to sell alcohol to patrons who appear to be under 21, he does not check IDs at the door and generally lets anyone into the bar. One night, an investigator from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (“ABC”) discovers that many of the patrons are under the age of 21. The bar’s owner could be charged with permitting minors in an on-sale establishment in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 25665 BPC.

In another example, a bar owner is looking to hire a new bartender. A young woman applies for the job. Although she was only 20, the woman tells the owner that she is over 21 and provides a copy of her older sister’s birth certificate and driver’s license as proof of her age. The bar owner hires her. The California Court of Appeals has held that a bar owner would not be in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 25665 BPC where he performed due diligence in making sure a potential employee was not underage.

4. Defenses to Permitting Minor in On-Sale Establishment

As described above, a defendant who took reasonable and diligent steps to prevent minors from being allowed onto the premises of an on-sale establishment would have a strong defense if charged criminally with this offense.

5. How Permitting Minors in On-Sale Establishment Cases are Defended

In many cases, the ABC will conduct surprise inspections or spot-checks to ensure that licensees are in compliance with the law. If an underage patron is discovered at an on-sale establishment, the owner of the establishment may be cited criminally and would be expected to appear in court to answer to the charges against him or her.

A skilled defense attorney will be able to demonstrate to the prosecutor or judge how the defendant took reasonable steps to ensure that minors where not allowed entry into the establishment and that the defendant should not be held liable for the violation.

6. Penalties

Permitting a minor in an on-sale establishment is a misdemeanor offense and those convicted can be sentenced to up to six months in jail as well as costly court fines. In addition, the owner of the establishment could have his or her license to sell alcohol suspended or revoked.

For those under the age of 21 who are caught in an on-sale establishment, this offense is also a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum $200 fine.

7. Criminal Defense for Permitting Minors in On-Sale Establishment Cases

If you or your business have been cited for this offense, it is important that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who works diligently to ensure his client’s personal liberties and professional interests are protected.

For more information about permitting minors in on-sale establishment offenses, 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 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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