Most people don’t need to be told that it’s a crime to give alcohol to someone under 21, but what you might not know is that doing so could even land you in jail. So how could offering a minor a drink or two turn into a year of incarceration? Allow San Diego juvenile crime lawyer Peter M. Liss to explain.
You might have assumed that providing alcohol to a minor is really just an infraction -and it is in most cases, carrying a penalty of up to $1000 in fines and 24 hours of community service. But since you never know what’s going to happen when you buy a teen alcohol, you should know that it could also result in great bodily injury or death for either the teen or someone else. It doesn’t matter if a teen drinks so much she gets alcohol poisoning or if he kills someone in a DUI crash, if the teen causes himself or someone else great bodily harm or death, the person who provided the alcohol can be subjected up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine.
Of course, even if nothing happens, prosecutors could always choose to charge anyone who gives alcohol to a minor with contributing to the delinquency of a minor on top of furnishing alcohol to a minor. This crime could result in up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. As you can see, if you have been accused of giving minors alcohol, you should immediately contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney to ensure you are only charged with an infraction and not a misdemeanor.
Even if you did not provide the alcohol, but willingly allowed minors to drink or use drugs in your home, you could be subject to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1000 if a minor at the home drove under the influence and got in a car accident. Additionally, most cities have social hosting ordinances which make it a misdemeanor to host a party where minors are consuming alcohol. Even if you are a parent asleep and your child is hosting the party you could still be liable under these social hosting ordinances.
As for minors caught drinking (even without driving), it’s worth noting that buying alcohol can result in a $250 fine, up to 32 hours community service and a one year driver’s license suspension. Those under 21 that are caught drunk driving will need to contact a San Diego juvenile DUI attorney as they may be subject to criminal charges, including fines, mandatory DUI classes and a DMV license suspension.
If you have been accused of furnishing alcohol to a minor, providing a home for minors to drink or use drugs, or if you are a minor arrested for driving under the influence, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with a top San Diego criminal lawyer.
Creative Commons Image by Jono Haysom