California Minor in Possession Laws

Online Alcohol Class offers the most comprehensive underage consumption classes available in California. We offer Level 1 (8 hour), Level 2 (16 hour), and Level 3 (24 hour) web-based Minor in Possession and Minor in Consumption Classes.

Often students call our offices to inquire about the MIP laws in California. As a courtesy, we've compiled the laws from every U.S. state and listed them below.

Please note that the California minor in possession laws displayed on this page are meant to assist help you to understand your local California laws. While we have tried to show the most up-to-date version of California minor in possession laws, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. This web page is not a replacement for legal advice from a lawyer. It is in your best interest that you find a qualified lawyer for more information about California minor in possession laws.

California Minor In Possession Laws

California Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • Private location
  • OR parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Notes: California's "Any Private Location" exception excludes possession in motor vehicles. California's statute regarding possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 years includes an exception for "responsible adult relative" but does not specify which relatives are included. APIS interprets the phrase "responsible adult relative" as including a spouse.

California Underage Consumption of Alcohol

Consumption is not explicitly prohibited.

California Internal Possession by Minors

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

California Underage Purchase of Alcohol

Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Furnishing Alcohol to Minors in California

Furnishing is prohibited with NO EXCEPTIONS.

Minimum Ages for Alcohol On-Premises Servers and Bartenders in California

Beer: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Wine: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Minimum Ages for Off-Premises Sellers in California

Beer: Not Specified

Wine: Not Specified

Spirits: Not Specified

Condition(s) that must be met in order for an underage person to sell alcoholic beverages:

  • Manager/supervisor is present

False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol in California

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • Penalty may include driver's license suspension through a judicial procedure

Provision(s) targeting suppliers:

  • It is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Retailers are permitted to seize apparently false IDs
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Underage Operators of Noncommercial Motor Vehicles in California

BAC limit: 0.01 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation

Applies to drivers under age 21

California Retail Sales: Keg Registration

Keg definition: 6 gallons or more


  • Possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $1000 or 6 months

Purchaser information collected:

  • Purchaser's name and address

  • Verified by a government-issued ID

Warning information to purchaser: Not Required

Deposit: not required

Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

California Underage Driving Privileges: Use/Lose

Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

  • Underage purchase
  • Underage possession

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • Mandatory

Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days

Prohibitions Against Hosting Underage Drinking Parties in California

No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties

Notes: As of January 1, 2004, a California statute imposes social host liability in circumstances that are more limited than for other laws included in this table. The California law applies only if the underage person is under 18 years old, has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent or greater, was permitted to drive a vehicle, and was found to have caused a traffic collision while driving. See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code ยง 25658.2.

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