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San Diego State University

Health Promotion - Helping create a healthier campus to enhance student success

Relevant California State Laws

  • Legal age for drinking alcohol is 21.
  • Providing alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 is prohibited ($100+ fine and loss of driver's license for 1 year).
  • Those under 21 are not permitted to possess alcohol in public places, including state highways or in and around schools ($150 fine).
  • It is illegal to possess false identification or use a fake I.D. to purchase (or attempt to purchase) alcohol or to enter an establishment where alcohol is being served.
  • No public intoxication (at least 1 day in county jail and possible fine).
  • No BAC greater than or equal to 0.01% for drivers under 21 (loss of drivers license for one year, vehicle may be impounded).
  • No BAC greater than or equal to 0.08% for drivers (1 year in County Jail up to 4 years in State Prison, driver's license suspended or revoked, probation up to 5 years, fines as high as $5000, attendance in treatment program may be required).
  • Causing injury or death from driving with BAC >0.08% (up to 4 years in State Prison and fines up to $5000).
  • Gross vehicular manslaughter (4, 6, or 10 years in State Prison).
  • It is unlawful for anyone-driver or passenger-to possess an open container of alcohol in an automobile. Possession of an open container of alcohol inside a car could lead to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.

See Underage Drinking Laws (PDF; download Adobe Acrobat Reader, if needed).