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Legal Drinking Age In California (Updated)

Legal Drinking Age In California (Updated)

When you’re not looking for breakfast in Los Angeles or a rooftop restaurant in California, it’s common for people to want to head to a bar.

Just like any other part of the world, there are laws associated with drinking in the state of California. You will want to be aware of these laws before drinking.

This is essential for everyone, but especially those who are young adults as you might not be permitted to drink in specific states or countries due to their official drinking age.

This is going to include the state of California.

The legal drinking age in California is set at 21 years old. Anyone under this age cannot be served alcohol and it’s illegal. There are strict penalties associated with this for both the individual serving the drink and the individual drinking depending on the situation.

This guide is going to dive deeper into the details of the legal drinking age in California.

What’s The Legal Drinking Age In California?

The legal drinking age is set at 21 years old. This means any individual in California that has turned 21 years old based on their official documents can drink alcohol at any establishment in the state.

It’s also important to note, anyone that who is serving cocktails will also need to be above this age.

This is why restaurants in California are particular about who is being hired as this is a strict law in the state of California.

What about those who want to drink in private and are younger than 21?

This is only permitted if they are drinking while there is someone such as a parent or guardian nearby at a private location. Otherwise, they are not allowed to drink.

For example, you cannot walk into a bar and drink as someone under the age of 21.

Drinking Laws In California

Let’s look into the drinking laws in the state of California.

The drinking laws in California state anyone over the age of 21 can drink alcohol both publicly and privately. Those who do not abide by this regulation and serve alcohol to a minor will be held on a misdemeanor charge.

It’s important to note the same applies to those who are under the age of 21 and attempting to purchase alcohol.

Underage Drinking In California

The law is clear when it comes to both a person attempting to drink under the age of 21 and serving those who are deemed to be underage in the state of California.

Establishments such as bars or clubs are required to check for a person’s ID when they ask for alcohol. This check has to be completed and the individual needs to be above the age of 21 for them to receive alcohol.

It’s important to note that even if a fake ID is used, the establishment will still be held responsible for selling alcohol to the underage individual.

Not only is the individual selling the alcohol going to be charged but also the underage drinker. They are also going to be held on a misdemeanor charge in California.

Punishment For Underage Drinking

Let’s assume an establishment ends up selling alcohol to a minor. What happens next?

Law enforcement is going to charge the individual or establishment for selling alcohol to a minor. This is going to vary depending on the severity of the offense.

It can lead to a $1,000 fine (or less) along with community service.

It’s also possible for additional charges to be added if additional laws are broken due to giving alcohol to an underage individual in the state of California.

California drinking laws state if a person is above the drinking age and then gives alcohol to someone underage leading to a separate crime (i.e. assault) this can lead to prison time for the individual giving the alcohol too.

What about punishing underage drinking? How are they going to be punished?

Yes, there are punishments associated with drinking when you are under the age in California. You are not allowed to fake your age or attempt to buy alcohol knowing you are under 21 years old.

This will lead to a misdemeanor charge. This can lead to a fine of $250 or less along with community service. This will continue to add up for additional offenses.

Final Thoughts

These are the details to consider when looking at the legal drinking age in California.

The drinking age in California is 21 years old or older. This goes both for the individual selling/serving the alcohol and the individual drinking the alcohol. This is strictly enforced and can lead to a misdemeanor charge for those who do not abide by this.

It’s essential to be careful and follow the legal drinking age in California.

We also recommend reading through our guide on great romantic spots in LA.