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State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

- California -

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private location
  • OR parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Notes:
California's "Any Private Location" exception excludes possession in motor vehicles. California's statute regarding possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 years includes an exception for "responsible adult relative" but does not specify which relatives are included. APIS interprets the phrase “responsible adult relative” as including a spouse.

Underage Drinking: Underage Purchase of Alcohol

Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Underage Drinking: Minimum Ages for On-Premises Servers and Bartenders

Beer: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Wine: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Underage Drinking: Minimum Ages for Off-Premises Sellers

Beer: Not Specified
Wine: Not Specified
Spirits: Not Specified

Condition(s) that must be met in order for an underage person to sell alcoholic beverages:

  • manager/supervisor is present

Underage Drinking: False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • Penalty may include driver's license suspension through a judicial procedure

Provision(s) targeting suppliers:

  • It is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Retailers are permitted to seize apparently false IDs
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits: Youth (Underage Operators of Noncommercial Motor Vehicles)
BAC limit: 0.01 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Retail Sales: Keg Registration

Keg definition: 6 or more gallons

Prohibited:

  • possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $1000 / 6 months

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID
  • Warning information to purchaser: Not Required

    Deposit: not required

    Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

    Underage Drinking: Use/Lose: Driving Privileges

    Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

    • Underage purchase
    • Underage possession

    Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

    Authority to impose driver's license sanction

    • mandatory

    Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days

    Underage Drinking: Prohibitions Against Hosting Underage Drinking Parties
    No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties.

    Notes:
    As of January 1, 2004, a California statute imposes social host liability in circumstances that are more limited than for other laws included in this table. The California law applies only if the underage person is under 18 years old, has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater, was permitted to drive a vehicle, and was found to have caused a traffic collision while driving. See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 25658.2.

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy