Minor in Possession of Alcohol – 25662 BP
Minor in Possession of Alcohol – 25662 BP
Under 21 in Possession of Alcohol • Unlawful Possession of a Fake-ID
BP section 25662(a) • VC section 14610(a) • BP section 25661 • CVC section 13202.5 • PC 470(b)
If you or someone you care about, has received a citation for any of these charges, unless aggressive and effective action is taken, likely 1) your driver’s license will likely be suspended for a minimum of 1 year*, and 2) it will appear on your record that you were in possession of false Government documents.
(*If the defendant has not received their license yet (such as if not yet 16-yrs-old, their ability to obtain a license will be suspended (‘pushed-back’) 1 year).
This will not help when a background check is run on you for an internship, a new job or your current job.
Possession of Fake-ID leading to 1-year license suspension:
A Fake-ID event/occurrence usually violates multiple laws/codes.
The event may involve:
1) If you were younger than 21-years-old at that time and caught with the (alleged) alcohol in your ‘possession’, you likely were cited for ‘Minor in Possession of Alcohol – BP§25662(a).
2) The person unlawfully “possessing” a Fake-ID – VC§14610(a),
3) The person may have “presented” that Fake-ID to someone with the intent they believe it was valid for the purpose of purchasing or procuring alcohol – BP§25661.
The Power to Suspend Your License for 1 Year
If you’ve already read 25662(a) BP, or 25661 BP you have likely seen in section (b) of each, the authority to enforce the 1-year driver’s license suspension comes in under California’s Vehicle Code CVC 13202.5
After you receive your citation for violating Business and Professions Code section 25661, the law-enforcement officer will prepare a report (Police Report).
In it the officer will include all the facts of the situation and, at the end, s/he will make a recommendation which charge(s) the prosecuting agency (likely the City Attorney’s Office in this scenario) should file against you. At the prosecuting agency (City Attorney’s office), an ‘intake’ attorney / agent / officer will review the report and determine whether enough facts exist to support probable cause to file charges, and the likelihood the agency will be able to get a conviction (reach the threshold of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’).
If the intake person believes enough facts exist to support a case against you, they will move forward with the case and prepare a formal complaint
that will be filed against you and a copy will be provided to your attorney (and you/the Defendant) at the Arraignment (usually your first court appearance).
25662(a) BP – Business & Professions Code (Minor in Possession of Alcohol):
While being under the age of 21, the suspect had in his/her possession, an alcoholic beverage while s/he was in a place open to the public, on a street or highway, or in a public place.
Possible Defenses to 25662(a) BP:
In order for you to be found guilty of violating Business and Professions Code (BP) section 25662 the prosecuting agency must prove certain ‘elements’ beyond a reasonable doubt. *Were you under 21 at the time of the event? *Can they prove it was ‘alcohol’ that you had? Or did you have it in a cup and poured it out before the officer could check what it was?) *Was the alcohol actually in ‘your’ possession. Or was it in someone else’s possession? When you were in possession of the alcohol were you in a public place or a place open to the public? Or were you in an area, not open to the public, and the law-enforcement officer did not have a right to be where s/he was when s/he discovered you in possession of alcohol? Or, were you acting under the direction of a parent or guardian?
Not only is each situation/scenario different and unique, but there are multiple ways the charges of a case may be challenged.
25662(a) BP – PENALTIES if found guilty for violating BP section 25662
The penalties for this violation include:
As of January 2019, the California Legislature made the following penalties ‘mandatory’ (i.e. – discretion taken out of the Judge’s hands). If you are found guilty of violating BP§25661, via California Vehicle Code section 13202.5, your (actual) Driver’s License will be suspended for at least 1-year (*or a delay of 1-yr in getting a driver’s license if you do not have it yet, such as if you’re between 15 and 16 years old). Plus, you will receive court-imposed fines, fees, and volunteer work.
14610(a) VC (Possession of Fake-ID):
Elements of VC§14610:
(a) It is unlawful for any person:
(b) For purposes of this section, “driver’s license” includes a temporary permit to operate a motor vehicle (i.e. – temporary license). (Amended by Stats 1990, Ch. 44, Sec. 5.)
14610(a) VC – DEFENSES
Generally, a person must ‘intend’ to do something with the knowledge his/her activity is illegal.
Example scenario: Suspect is stopped by law-enforcement and his/her pockets are searched and a Fake-ID is found. Upon being shown the Fake-ID the suspect says “Hey, that’s not mine. My roommate borrowed my pants the other day, that must be how/when that got in there.” Although that would be argued as a ‘hearsay’ statement, it could be used to show the suspect’s lack of knowledge of the Fake-ID being on his/her person.
If it can successfully be shown that the person did not have the ‘intent’ to possess a Fake-ID then s/he could not be found guilty of this charge.
However, there are other factors that may come into play. Such as, did the person recently ‘present’ that very ID to someone in order to get alcohol. If so, that will be used to show knowledge and intent. Since each case is different and unique, call our office
25661 BP – Business & Professions Code (Presentment of a Fake-ID):
(a) Any person under the age of 21 who presents or offers to any licensee, his/her agent or employee, any written, printed or photostatic evidence of age and identity which is false, fraudulent or not actually his/her own for the purpose of ordering, purchasing, attempting to purchase or otherwise procuring or attempting to procure, the serving of any alcoholic beverage, or who has in his/her possession any false or fraudulent written, printed, or photostatic evidence of age and identity, is guilty of a MISDENEANOR.
25661 BP – PENALTIES if found guilty for violating BP section 25661: The penalties for this violation include:
“The officer told me he was doing me a favor by just giving me an INFRACTION, am I Okay?”
In short, I’m sorry to say, NO. Many times a person cited will tell me that the officer told them that the officer was going to do them a favor and just write them up for an “Infraction” instead of a “Misdemeanor”.
Although it may be argued that a ‘misdemeanor’ looks worse on your record than an ‘infraction’, the problem is, for what you likely care about most, either one (Misdemeanor or Infraction) will result in both, the 1-yr license suspension, and will show up on your record as possession of falsified Government documents (Fake-ID). This is why calling me/my office as soon as possible can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
“If I was using someone else’s Driver’s License, will they get in trouble?”
Likely, NO. Unless you were involved in some elaborate scheme to defraud other people, the person who is the rightful owner of the ID/Driver’s License you were using, will likely not be charged as a co-conspirator, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“Will I be charged with identity theft?”
Likely, NO. Identity Theft is a serious crime and is usually charged when a person uses a Fake-ID along with a stolen or false credit-card to make purchases.
Other Important factors that may affect your case (Mitigating or Aggravating):
There are other factors that may help you (mitigating factors) during.
Mitigating and Aggravating Factors
Facts regarding the ID / Driver’s License – Valid vs. Forged
Was the false-ID that you were (allegedly) caught with an ‘actual valid’ ID but just belonged to someone other than you? (the person caught with the ID). Or was the ID a completely false and forged ID that does not validly represent anyone? Although the prosecutor’s will not state this officially, but in my experience the prosecutor’s office sometimes handles cases/defendants who were caught with a ‘forged’ and completely falsified ID, differently than a minor caught with a ‘valid’ ID but the ID merely did not belong to the person caught with/using it.
The reason for this is to attempt to cut-off demand/supply to those people/businesses that make fake-IDs. Some of the crimes, the fake-IDs that those people/businesses make get used for are (what some people view as) ‘small’ or arguably ‘insignificant’ crimes such as a ‘person under 21 years old purchasing alcohol’, or a person under 21 using it to get into an over-21 music-festival or other event. However, some of the crimes (the fake-IDs get used for) are more serious crimes. Additionally, the people/entities that make fake Driver’s Licenses usually don’t just limit themselves to ‘fake Driver’s Licenses’ but expand their services and their income-streams to travel Passports, immigrant Visas, Government/Military IDs, and more.
Facts regarding the Defendant – Within 6 months of turning 21?
At the time of the (alleged) offense, was the suspect/Defendant more or less than 6-months away from turning 21 years of age. Cases where, at the time of the (alleged) offense, the defendant is/was within 6 months of turning 21 are handled differently than cases where the defendant is/was more than 6 months away from turning 21 years of age. Cases where the Defendant, at the time the event occurred, was more than 6-months away from turning 21.
Facts regarding the Act – Relatively large amounts or small amounts?
At the time of the (alleged) offense, how much and what type(s) of alcohol were you caught with? Did you have a relatively small amount of alcohol that could be argued was merely for personal use/consumption? Or did you have a relatively large amount of alcohol providing a basis for the prosecutor to argue that you were potentially going to supply alcohol to other minors, thereby arguably contributing to the delinquency of (other) minors?
Facts regarding the Interaction with Law-Enforcement – Rude and impolite or polite and compliant?
At the time of the (alleged) offense, how did you interact with the law-enforcement officer? As you can imagine, the recommendations from the officer to the prosecuting agency (as well as the negotiations with the prosecuting attorney on your case) will go differently if you were rude and offensive with the law-enforcement officer than if you were polite and compliant.
Facts regarding the Venue – Which court have you been ordered to appear at?
There are 5 possible courthouses your charges may be processed through: 1) 1100 Union Street, 2) 8950 Clairmont Mesa, 3) 500 3rd Ave., 4) 325 S. Melrose, 5) 250 E. Main St. Which courthouse your matter is being processed through likely has very different rules, policies and resources, than the other courthouses. Although our office has the knowledge and experience to deal with your charges no matter which courthouse your case is being processed through, depending on which courthouse, our office may need to take particular actions sooner than later to help ensure the successful outcome of your case. The particular courthouse is usually identified towards the bottom half area of your citation.
PC 470(b) PC – Forgery. Value involved less than $951 can be a Misdemeanor, over $950 can be a Felony.
In order for you to be found guilty of violating California Penal Code section 470, the prosecuting agency must prove certain ‘elements’ beyond a reasonable doubt. It must be proved that you created an item with the intent to defraud another person. Section (d) of 470 lists the items which qualify.
Time Is Not On Your Side
If one or more charges related to Fake-ID and/or Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Forgery have been charged against you, time is not on your side. Although they won’t admit to it, the prosecuting agency (District Attorney or City Attorney) has a ‘conviction win rate’ they want to keep as high as possible.
Every second that passes is vital. Although ‘you’ have other areas of your life to worry about and tend to other than this (school, work, rent, car payments, etc.), the prosecuting attorney your file/case has been assigned to, only has 1 task/goal to focus on… building the strongest case against you as quickly as possible in order to win the case against you and ‘get the conviction’.
Call Our Office As Soon As Possible
There are multiple things that can be done to possibly help your case. We can reach-out to and open the lines of communication with the prosecutor on your case sooner than later and possibly improve the outcome. Although the law-enforcement officer that was face-to-face with you may have gotten an idea about what kind of person you are, when they send the file to the prosecutor’s office, that prosecuting attorney will know very little about you. Are you a school student? Do you have reasonably good grades? Have you done volunteer work in the past without being forced to do so by a Judge/court? Do you have a full-time job? Have you been active with any non-profit organizations? You never know what piece of advice could change the course of negotiations on your case.
The sooner you can inform us of the relevant facts on you/your case, the sooner we can compile evidence to help your case. Conversely, the more time passes, the greater the chance that evidence which could have helped your case may be lost or become unavailable. Or witnesses that could have testified to help your case move away or become unavailable. Lastly, the sooner we can get the necessary information from you, the better chance we’ll have to get the best outcome for you.
Call the Law Office of James L. Hassey today at 619-745-5555 for a Free Consultation.