Understanding the Implications of Possession of Alcohol by a Person Under 21 with a Professional Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney
Under Florida law, anyone below the age of 21 is strictly prohibited from drinking or possessing alcohol. This includes drinks like wine, beer, liquor, mixed drinks, and more. Having these in your possession, such as holding a drink at a party or purchasing a six-pack of beer at a store, can lead to an Underage Possession of Alcohol charge.
Types of Alcohol Possession Under Florida Law
There are two types of alcohol possession identified under Florida law: ‘actual’ and ‘constructive’. ‘Actual’ possession refers to when a minor has the alcohol physically on their person or in their immediate vicinity. ‘Constructive’ possession, on the other hand, requires only proof that the alcoholic beverage was within the defendant’s control and that they were aware of its presence.
Penalties for Underage Alcohol Possession in Florida
Consumption or possession of alcohol by a person under 21 is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. The maximum penalties can include 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses or accompanying charges can escalate this to a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries harsher penalties.
|Type of Offense
||60 days jail time, 6 months probation, $500 fine
||1 year jail time, 12 months probation, $1000 fine
Defending Against Charges of Underage Drinking in Florida
Accusations of underage drinking or alcohol possession can be challenged with various defenses, depending on the specifics of the case. These can include unawareness of the alcohol-based nature of the drink, inability to recognize the drink in the defendant’s vicinity, and violations of Miranda rights, among others. If you or your child are facing such charges, it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orlando, such as Leppard Law.
Can an underage drinking case be Sealed or Expunged in Florida?
If the case ends with a dismissal, your attorney may discuss sealing or expunging your criminal record, removing the arrest or criminal citation from public view.
What happens to my driver’s license if I get convicted of underage consumption of alcohol?
A conviction will result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked for six months to one year for the first offense, and at least two years for any subsequent violations.
What are the consequences of a subsequent Underage Possession of Alcohol charge?
A second charge will result in a first-degree misdemeanor on your record, a fine of $1,000, up to a year of jail time, and a potential license suspension lasting between two and three years.
Can a person under 21 years of age legally consume or possess alcohol in Florida?
Yes, Florida Statute § 562.111 details exemptions from charges of minor consumption of alcohol, as follows:
- By a student who is at least 18 years of age, where tasting alcoholic beverages is part of the student’s required curriculum at a postsecondary educational institution that is institutionally accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and that is licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to the provisions of chapter 1005 or is a public postsecondary education institution.
- if the student is enrolled in the college and is tasting the alcoholic beverages only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of such a curriculum;
- if the student is allowed only to taste, but not consume or imbibe, the alcoholic beverages; and
- if the alcoholic beverages at all times remain in the possession and control of authorized instructional personnel of the college who are 21 years of age or older.”
The statute likewise does not apply when the minor is employed at any establishment where alcohol is served; then, they are allowed to serve alcohol-based drinks.
What should I do when faced with an Underage Possession of Alcohol Charge?
It’s crucial to seek the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Leppard Law to mitigate potential consequences.
Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’re facing charges for underage possession of alcohol in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact Leppard Law: Florida DUI Lawyers & Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC today. Contact us at (407) 476-4111 to arrange a free case consultation.