Venice, Underage Possession of Alcohol, Dismissed at Trial

Our client, age 17 and a college freshman, was charged with one misdemeanor count of violating California Business & Professions Code § 25662(a), possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21.

In a Nutshell:  Venice Beach and Santa Monica court - possession of alcohol by one under 21 (Business and Professions Code § 25662), case dismissed at trial.

He was arrested on Venice Beach in the early evening hours as he was walking along the boardwalk there with an open 32 ounce Corona in his hand.  He was headed toward meeting some friends further up the beach.

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Our client’s big concern in this case was the statutory provision that a conviction for this offense would lead to a one year suspension in his driving privileges, which would interfere with his college classes.

Accordingly, he hired Greg Hill & Associates to take all steps to negotiate a disposition to avoid such a license suspension.

To position our client as best we could, Greg Hill had our client assemble a “Good Guy” packet with all his awards and letters of commendation for the last four years (including his significant volunteer work at his temple), as well as a 500 word essay on the effects of alcohol and why alcohol should be restricted from those under the legal age.

The client did all his “homework” for the court appearance and appeared in a suit and tie with Greg.  We were ready, and optimistic, as a similar approach had worked for one of Greg’s prior clients two years prior in the same courthouse.

As luck often works, when one is most prepared to fight, the fight does not even begin.  The police officer who issued the citation did not appear and the case was simply dismissed.

The client was very happy, as was his family, as the client avoided a disruption in his education and was able to keep alive his dreams of college degree.  He was also able to avoid a misdemeanor conviction on his record, which certainly would have complicated his job search for summer work, internships and work after graduation.

Such a misdemeanor could have made graduation impossible as well.  A conviction for a misdemeanor offense often makes payable in full his student loans for his college tuition, which often contain a provision that upon entry of any conviction for a felony or misdemeanor, the full loan balance is due payable.  This provision is seldom enforced or invoked by the loan provider, but it does exist and with background checks being easier and easier to perform, having this concern erased also helped ease our client’s anxiety.

It merits mention that this case arose in 2012, well before AB 2124 came into effect on January 1, 2015.  AB 2124 would have been an alternative way to resolve this case had it arisen in 2015.  Assembly Bill 2124, provided for at Penal Code § 1001.94 to 1001.98, is a pilot program available only in Los Angeles County, wherein the judge can order diversion for certain low level offenders with no prior convictions in the last year.  Under the program, the judge may, over the prosecutor’s objection, order certain terms and conditions of court-ordered diversion, which if completed, allow the defendant to “earn a dismissal.”

The program is not available to those accused of domestic violence, DUI or certain sex offenses, but is generally available for most other offenses.

For more information about the issues in this case summary, click on the following articles:

  1. Minor in Possession of Alcohol - What Happens?

  2. What Is a “Trial Tax?”

  3. Should I Waive a Jury Trial and Instead Have a Bench Trial?

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Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well. S.A., Torrance
Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him. S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
Thanks again for your hard work. We want you to know that we are very appreciative of all that you have done [on our son's] behalf. With warmest regards. L.H., Torrance
Dear Greg, Thank you again for all your help. Your professionalism and thoroughness is greatly admired. I will definitely recommend you to my friends if they ever need legal help. V.L., Carson
Thanks for investing in my case. I talked to other attorneys out there and they had an arms-length of attitude, but not you. Your intensity and interest helped a lot. C.R., Pomona