It’s common knowledge that it is illegal to sell alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana or fireworks to minors, but did you know these crimes (while all slightly different) could land you behind bars? Oceanside criminal defense lawyers warn that violators of these crimes need an attorney to help them fight the charges.
Selling Alcohol to Minors
We already covered this topic in more detail in a previous article and suggest anyone with questions to read it in its entirety. Essentially, selling or providing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor punishable a fine and community service. If someone suffers from great bodily injury or death related to the minor’s use of the alcohol it is still a misdemeanor but with a minimum jail term of six months.
Cigarette Sales to Minors
Selling or providing tobacco to someone under 21 years of age may be prosecuted civilly or criminally with fines for a first time offense. It is worth noting that while cigarettes are available for sale to 18 year olds in most states, California has raised the age of tobacco sales to 21 -though there is an exception for military personnel that are between 18 and 21. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor for selling a minor cigarettes, your criminal lawyer in Oceanside may be able to have the charges reduced to an infraction.
Furnishing Dangerous Fireworks to Minors
While selling cigarettes or alcohol to those under 21 is only an infraction in most cases, fireworks are much more immediately dangerous, which is why giving or selling fireworks to minors is a misdemeanor charge. Practically all fireworks fall under this law, with the exception of small poppers and standard sparklers. Fines for giving or selling fireworks to minors include probation, a fine between $500 and $1000 and up to one year in jail.
Providing a Minor With Marijuana
When California legalized the recreational use of marijuana, they continued to bar its use by those under 21 with the exception of those who use the product for medicinal purposes. Unlike the other crimes in this article, giving or selling marijuana to a minor is actually a felony. In fact, providing it to someone over 14 can result in a prison sentence between three and five years and giving or selling it to someone under 14 can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years. Obviously this is a very serious crime and anyone accused of furnishing marijuana to an underage user should immediately contact an Oceanside drug crimes lawyer.
Defenses to These Crimes
It is worth noting that if you can prove that the minor provided you with an ID that looked reasonably reliable, you can beat the charges. In order to be guilty of giving or selling cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana or fireworks to someone underage, you must have acted without any reasonable indication that the person was under the legal age for purchase meaning you did not ask for ID or you willingly overlooked the fact that an ID was obviously fraudulent.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
Most of these charges can also be accompanied by a charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
If you have been accused of any of these crimes or any other related charge for selling or giving a product to a minor, Oceanside criminal attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by @wreckandsalvage Salvage