San Diego DUI Law Center

Open Container or Minor in Possession, Alcohol / Drugs on a San Diego Beach

Imagine you’re sitting on a beautiful San Diego beach with your friends on a nice sunny day. Before leaving home, you fill up your water bottle/ice chest with alcohol. You also may, under Corona California, buy your beer, wine or cocktail “to-go” from any bar, restaurant, or brewery. “To-go” alcohol must be sealed, according to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In your vehicle and on the beach, the California open container law still applies. Intending not to drive anywhere in San Diego county with a BAC of .08% or more or drive under influence of drugs, you took precautions. You did not drink any alcohol prior to driving to the beach. San Diego county laws regarding alcohol consumption vary from beach to beach. Some San Diego county beaches do not allow any alcohol while other San Diego county beaches do allow alcohol. Always check the signs prior to beach entry. San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Carlsbad Police Department, Oceanside Police Department, Coronado Police Department and State Park rangers are the ones who enforce the no alcohol laws on these certain beaches. If the beach does allow alcohol, you still must be of the legal drinking age (21) to have alcohol in your possession. California law as well as specific beach laws may also preclude the use of drugs in public places like the beach. If you are on a San Diego county beach with a posted “No alcohol on beach sign”, you run the risk of a law enforcement officer approaching you. You may be asked by an officer to display what is in your bottle or belongings. If you do not answer the officer’s question, they may not have probable cause to check your personal belongings. Important proof questions include:
  • Did the San Diego officer see you drinking a container that was obviously alcohol?
  • Did the officer see or smell drugs, including cannabis?
  • Did the officer smell alcohol or drugs on you?
  • Did the officer smell alcohol or drugs coming from you or your personal belongings?
  • Did the officer check your speech as normal or slurred?
  • Did the officer check to see if your eyes were red, bloodshot or watery?
  • If so, could there be another reason for the condition of your speech or eyes.
  • Did the officer determine your container’s content by testing?
  • Did the officer confiscate your container for testing?
  • Did the officer smell the contents of your container if poured out?
  • Did the officer take notes?
  • Will the officer realistically have independent recollection at trial months later?
If cited to appear in a San Diego county court for a “BP”, a California Business & Professions Code misdemeanor/infraction violation or a local code violation, consult a San Diego DUI lawyer. DUI attorneys are more experienced with alcohol or drug cases and will be better equipped to handle your case. If you do not contact a San Diego attorney for assistance with your Minor in Possession or Alcohol on Beach notice to appear, and you are convicted for an alcohol related charge (e.g. California Business & Professions Code Section 25662(a)) understand that you may be subject to various possible penalties. These penalties include a 1-year license suspension if under 21 years of age, an expensive fine, up to three years of probation, community service at an alcohol or drug treatment center, and other various possible penalties. Sometimes a California Business & Professions (B&P) charge can be reduced to a lesser related or included city/county code violation that does not result in a mandatory license suspension. San Diego DUI lawyers will know how to Petition the court for review of a license suspension under California Vehicle Code Section 13202.5. This will allow you to be able to drive to and from work, during work, and to and from school if convicted of an offense resulting in a 1-year license suspension. If drugs are involved, there may be a separate statute or code violation for your San Diego lawyer to deal with. Under no circumstances should you drive after having consumed alcohol and/or drugs on a beach which would hinder your ability to drive a vehicle.