Limitations of Alcohol Sales in CA
For consumers it is fairly cut and dry when you can purchase alcohol, when you are at least the age of 21. But the rules may not be so clear for merchants or business owners. Alcohol cannot be sold and consumed in every part of California at any given time. There are restrictions to the type of establishment that can sell alcohol, time periods that are set where you cannot sell or purchase alcohol, and types of licenses that determine how the alcohol is purchased and consumed.
Bars, nightclubs, grocery stores, and liquor stores are types of establishments that sell alcohol. However, these businesses operate under two different licenses. Nightclubs and bars would have an “On-sale” license that allows patrons to drink on site but they cannot be given free alcohol by the employees or owners.
There is an “Off-sale” license for grocery and liquor stores where they can only sell the alcohol but it must be consumed off site (elsewhere). Both types of businesses must not sell alcohol between the hours of 2AM – 6AM (California Business and Professions Code 25631).
If the proprietor or employee of any of these businesses is caught selling alcohol between the restricted time range, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. It’s imperative to know all the rules that apply to the licensed establishment as one can be facing up to 6 months in jail as well as a hefty fine if found guilty. The advice and expertise of a criminal defense attorney is highly recommended if found in this situation.