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Underage Drinking


The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private location
  • OR parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

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.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

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

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

  • 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

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension 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

BAC limit: 0.01 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.
Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: 6 or more gallons


  • 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

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

No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties.

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.