Can a minor be in a car with alcohol in Los Angeles? Minors are sometimes allowed to ride in a vehicle that is carrying sealed and closed alcoholic containers. However, this is only permitted in some situations.
Minors can face criminal charges under California Vehicle Code (VEH) §23224 in some situations. VEH §23224 deals with the possession of alcohol in a vehicle by a person under 21. Check out this article to learn more about this charge and exceptions to VEH §23224 charges.
Learn About Possession of Alcohol in a Vehicle by a Person Under 21
As we mentioned, drivers under 21 can face criminal charges for carrying alcohol in their vehicles. Individuals can also face this charge if they are under 21 and:
- Possess or control any kind of alcoholic substance WHILE
- They are driving as a passenger in a motor vehicle
Note that this includes alcoholic beverages that are sealed and closed. Merely carrying around alcohol in your vehicle can lead to criminal charges in the state of California.
Exceptions to VEH §23224 Charges in Los Angeles
VEH §23224 charges are very serious. However, these charges do not apply to all drivers under the age of 21 in California. Some drivers are exempted from VEH §23224 charges. Drivers under 21 are allowed to carry sealed and closed alcohol if they:
- Have a parent, adult relative, or other designated adult with them
- Are currently working for a company with a license to sell alcohol
- Are obeying the instructions of a parent or designated adult in a timely fashion
Drivers who meet any of the above criteria could avoid a VEH §23224 conviction in California. However, these exemptions only apply if the alcoholic beverage is sealed and closed. Carrying an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is still against the law in California.
Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer if you believe you are exempt from VEH §23224 charges. Our team could help you handle these accusations. Just contact us by calling (310) 896-2724.
Charges for Carrying an Open Container of Alcohol in a Car
Thus far, we have discussed criminal charges for carrying a closed container of alcohol in a vehicle by drivers under 21. Drivers over the age of 21 are legally allowed to transport close and sealed alcohol containers. However, all drivers face charges for the possession of an open container of alcohol while driving.
VEH §23222(a) deals with possession of an open container while driving. Drivers can face this charge regardless of their age. Drivers face this charge even if they opened a container of alcohol and then put the lid back on. Drivers convicted under VEH §23222 can face fines of up to $250.
Exemptions for Carrying and Open Container of Alcohol
Drivers can face criminal charges for carrying an open container of alcohol. However, the state does make exceptions for this act in some situations. Drivers over the age of 21 are allowed to carry a previously opened container of alcohol if the container is:
- In the bed of their pickup truck
- Currently in a locked container
- In the trunk of their vehicle
Drivers carrying open containers of alcohol in these places can avoid a VEH §23222(a) conviction. However, these exemptions generally do not apply to a driver under the age of 21. These drivers can still end up facing criminal charges in Los Angeles.
Penalties for Possession of Alcohol in a Vehicle by a Minor
Drivers under the age of 21 who have alcohol in their vehicles can face severe legal penalties. The court system can sentence these drivers to:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
- Restrictions on their driver’s license
We understand that these penalties often seem very serious. That’s why we’re here to help you build a defense. We can get to work on your unique legal needs right away after an arrest. We’ll keep you up-to-date about your case and work to put you first, starting right now. Allow us to focus on getting your charges reduced or even dismissed, starting today.
Reach Out to a Lawyer to Fight Your Charges
Minors can sometimes be in a car with alcohol in California. However, in many cases, carrying alcohol in a car with a minor leads to criminal charges. You can get help handling these charges by reaching out to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles. We’ll discuss your situation with a free consultation.
Find out more about your defense options by calling us at (310) 896-2724. You can also complete our online contact form.