Alcohol Service Regulations – California

Alcohol Service Regulations – California

21 Legal age to consume alcohol
21 Legal age to serve alcohol 
18 Legal age to serve alcohol in a bona fide eating place where area is primarily designed for sale and service of food 
0.08 Limit for Driving While Intoxicated; 0.01 for under 21
Yes (Limited) Dram Shop liability laws
Not regulated Maximum alcohol per drink
Not regulated Number of drinks served at one time
30 Recommended age to check IDs; state requires ID check for anyone who looks under legal age to drink

Server Training

Beginning July 1, 2022 all alcohol servers must complete training from a Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) approved course. TEAM is an approved RBS training provider!

Whether you are a TEAM trainer or a server, there is important information to review. Click the appropriate button below. If you have additional questions, please email

Acceptable Forms of ID

  • Valid U.S. State Driver’s License
  • Valid U.S. State or Federal Government issued Identification
  • Valid U.S. Passport and/or Passport Card
  • Valid Military ID issued by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Valid Foreign Passport

According to business and professions code 25660; the ABC recommends that licensees accept only “Bona Fide” identification which are currently valid, issued by a Government Agency, and contain the following criteria:

  • Name of Person
  • Photograph
  • Physical Description
  • Date of Birth
  • Issued by a Governmental Agency
  • Must be Valid (Not Expired)

Relying on identification using these 6 elements provides a legal defense to a violation of California Code Section 25658. For additional information see Sections 25668-25660 of the B&P Code.

ID Confiscation

Under Section 25659, a licensee, or his or her agent or employee, may seize any identification by a person that shows to be under 21 or false, so long as a receipt is given to the person from whom it was seized and the seized identification is given over to the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the premises within 24 hours.

Policies Regarding Minors

It is unlawful to serve or sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. Persons under 21 years of age may not enter and remain in any premises with a green-colored ABC license except on lawful business. These premises are required to post a sign visible from the exterior at each public entrance and another one inside stating that no one under the age of 21 is allowed inside. Minors are not allowed to consume alcohol in the presence of their parents or legal guardian under any circumstances, either on or off a licensed premises, except that a very small amount of an alcoholic beverage may be consumed in a Bona Fide religious service. The prohibition extends to all locations in the state, not only within a licensed premises. Those furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors face a misdemeanor charge regardless of the location (except as described above.)

Liquor Liability

Following is a list of violations and penalties:

  • Minors in a public premises: penalty for licensee is maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 6 months in county jail
  • Minors in a public premises (bar): penalty for minor is fine not less than $200
  • Sale during prohibited hours: maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 6 months in county jail
  • Sale to an intoxicated person: maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 6 months in county jail
  • Sale to a habitual drunkard: maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 6 months in county jail
  • Sale to minors: maximum penalty of $250 and/or 24-32 hours Community Service
  • Sale to minors – 2nd offense: maximum penalty of $500 and/or 36-48 hours of Community Service
  • Furnishing alcohol to a minor: $1000 and 24 hours Community Service
  • Furnishing alcohol to a minor resulting in great bodily injury or death: minimum 6 months in jail and/or maximum $1000 fine
  • ABC administrative penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Non-Alcoholic Beer and Wine

Formally there are no laws regulating the sale of non-alcohol brew or non-alcohol wine to minors. However, California authorities strongly recommend establishments not make those sales. The beverage is not considered to be an alcoholic beverage if it contains less than one-half of 1% alcohol by volume.

State Contact Information

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
3927 Lennane Drive Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834

Download State Information

This information has been provided to us by the regulating agency and is believed to be correct. However, laws and regulations may change at any time, and the information provided should not be relied upon in place of official documents. For more information or clarification, consult the regulatory body for this jurisdiction directly.