Minor in Possession of Alcohol

Orange County Minor in Possession Attorney

It is a crime for a minor to be in possession of alcohol in California. This crime is a misdemeanor, which means it is not a simple traffic ticket that can be paid off with no consequences outside of having to pay fines. A misdemeanor conviction means you will have a criminal record.

There are a number of defenses with a minor in possession charge. The law requires that you knowingly possessed the alcohol. It will be the prosecutor’s job to prove you actually knew the alcohol was in your vehicle.

A “minor” in this situation means anyone under the age of 21. The punishment for a minor in possession of alcohol conviction can be up to six months in county jail up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) in fines. Your car can be towed on the spot, at the owner’s expense, if you were the driver. The court can suspend for your driver’s license up to one year.


The defendant is charged with unlawfully possessing an alcoholic beverage when under 21 years old in violation of Business and Professions Code section 25662(a).

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

  1. The defendant unlawfully possessed an alcoholic beverage (in/on) a street, highway, public place, or a place open to the public; AND
  2. At the time, the defendant was under 21 years old.

An alcoholic beverage is a liquid or solid material intended to be consumed that contains one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume. [An alcoholic beverage includes <insert type[s] of beverage[s] from Bus. & Prof. Code, § 23004, e.g., wine, beer>.]

[Under the law, a person becomes one year older as soon as the first minute of his or her birthday has begun.]

[Two or more persons may possess something at the same time.]

[A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess it. It is enough if the person has (control over it/ [or] the right to control it), either personally or through another person.]

<Defense: Following Reasonable Adult Instructions>

[The defendant did not unlawfully possess an alcoholic beverage if (he/she) was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of (his/her) (parent/legal guardian/responsible adult relative/employer/ <insert name or description of person designated by parent or legal guardian>) to deliver [or dispose of] the alcoholic beverage. The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not following such instructions. If the People have not met this burden, you must find the defendant not guilty of this crime.]

If you were arrested for being a minor in possession of alcohol, consult with an experienced Orange County Minor in Possession Attorney. At the Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan | OC Legal Defense, I will aggressively fight to get your case dismissed and keep your record clean. Having a misdemeanor conviction on your record can hurt your chances of obtaining gainful employment or being admitted into a college or university.