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Is it Always Illegal to Bring Alcoholic Beverages to a Public Schoolhouse in California?

Anyone, even without studying the legal regulations, can imagine, that circulation of alcoholic beverages in the territory of a school or any other public educational institution is prohibited by law. However, several questions can arise in connection with such circulation. Particularly whether it is legal if you take beer to a school football match, to the stadium of the school, but hide it in a thermos for coffee. Or whether it is lawful to take beer to a college basketball match if it is held in one of the city stadiums and not in the college stadium itself. Even more- what if the alcohol is delivered during a charity dinner in a college?

To find answers to such questions, let’s examine California Business Professional Code, section 25608.

Business and Professional Code section 25608 Ban on Bringing Alcoholic Beverages on Educational Institutions

Business and Professional Code section 25608 defines that anyone, who “possesses, consumes, sells, gives, delivers” alcohol in a  public educational institution or on its grounds shall be guilty of conducting a misdemeanor. Hence, we see that it is illegal to carry beer to a school football match, even if you think you are doing nothing wrong by hiding it in a thermos for coffee.

However, there are several exceptions from the general rule and in which cases the above-mentioned actions are allowed in a public schoolhouse or on its grounds.

Exceptions to Business Professional Code 25608

The list of exceptions defined in the corresponding section of the California Business & Professional Code is quite many. However, we can try to divide them into some groups.

  • Alcohol beverages circulation in a public schoolhouse or its grounds is conditioned by an educational program.

Alcohol can be used for merely educational purposes in the case of viticultural program studies, enology program studies, etc.

  • Exceptions, conditioned by the territory of the schoolhouse.

There is an exception stated by law in case alcohol is delivered during an event or ceremony on the grounds of a schoolhouse, however, there are no students attending classes at that time. Thus, delivering alcohol in a charity lunch to guests from outside, or consuming alcohol during a football match, which is not a school event and is just held in the territory of the school stadium, is allowed under the law.

Exceptions to Business Professional Code 25608 Outside of Educational Institutional Grounds

Another exception is possessing alcohol during an event that is held outside the territory of the educational institution. This means that, in case you attend a college basketball match which is organized outside the territory of the college, in one of the city stadiums, you can easily carry a bottle of beer, without even trying to hide it in a coffee thermos.

There is also another exception connected with the territory of the schoolhouse. Some part of it may be leased by another organization, which does not use it for educational purposes. In this case, alcohol possession, consumption, and other actions defined by section 25608 are allowed in this territory.

What are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor Business Professional Code 25608?

In case one “possesses, consumes, sells, gives, delivers” alcohol in a public educational institution or on its grounds shall be punished by up to 6 months in a jail or a fine up to 1000$.

Defense to B&P 25608

Thus, we already understand that there are some exceptions from the law when alcoholic beverages are legal in the territory of the schoolhouse. In case your situation falls under these exceptions, you will not be punished for conducting a misdemeanor. Another way to defend yourself is to show that you have been searched on unlawful grounds (for example, without a court order).

Contact a Glendale Criminal Defense Attorney

In any case, you will need a professional lawyer to guide you in the process of creating a defense strategy and the KAASS professional team is always ready to assist. If you or a loved one has been charged with Business Professional Code 25608 we invite you to contact our office at (310) 943-1171 today for a free consultation.

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