Underage drinking is a common trend throughout the entire State of Florida as well as the rest of the United States. But just because people do it doesn’t mean that it isn’t punishable. According to Florida Statute 562.111, underage possession of alcohol is a second-degree misdemeanor and comes with a fine as well as a 60-day jail sentence. People are unaware of the seriousness that these charges hold. A moment of underage drinking could result in you having the charge on your record – and as a young person, this is not something that you want to hold you back from future opportunities.
At The Law Place, we know how stressful of a time this is. Not just for you, but for your loved ones also. If you find yourself in a position where you are facing criminal charges for underage drinking or alcohol possession in North Port, it is essential that you seek legal assistance. Once you contact The Law Place, you will be in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, one who will be able to help build a strong defense for your case, as well as fight for your rights to ensure the best possible outcome.
Our North Port office phone line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – ready to assist you when you need it. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444. You will receive a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer and begin the steps towards fighting your charges.
What You Need to Know About Underage Alcohol Possession in North Port, Florida
It is common knowledge that in the State of Florida, as well as the rest of the United States, it is illegal for a person below the age of 21 to be in possession of alcohol. Listed below are some facts and statistics that we believe are useful in understanding the regulations surrounding alcohol laws in North Port, as well as the entirety of Florida:
- Alcohol consumption in Florida is legal at 21 years of age.
- Under no circumstances are parents or guardians allowed to serve alcohol to minors. This includes in your home, at a restaurant, or in a hotel.
- If you are an employee in the hospitality industry and are under the age of 18, you are not legally permitted to sell or serve alcohol to anyone.
- If you are an employee in the hospitality industry and are over the age of 18, you are permitted to serve and sell alcohol while abiding by the law.
- In North Port, but also Florida generally, it is illegal to have or make a fake ID to purchase alcohol. If you are caught with a fake ID, the person has the right to not sell you alcohol and must contact law enforcement.
- It is illegal for anyone to sell or serve alcohol to an underage person.
If you are in the position where you are facing criminal charges for serving alcohol to a minor, or your child is facing criminal charges for underage possession of alcohol, it is crucial that you seek legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney, as they will be able to guide you through this process. Contact The Law Place for your free consultation, and speak to a North Port criminal defense attorney today.
Penalties for Underage Possession of Alcohol in North Port, Florida
If a minor who is under the age of 21 is caught with an alcoholic beverage in their possession, this is a second-degree misdemeanor, as stated in Florida Statute 562.111.
As mentioned previously, in North Port, underage possession of alcohol is not an offense that is taken lightly. It could rack up a fine of $500 as well as 60 days of imprisonment or a 6-month probation.
In the event that someone is below the age of 21 and commits the crime of being in possession of alcohol for a second time, the charge changes. It then becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, and the penalties become one year in jail or a 12-month probation. Equally, the fine becomes $1,000.
If you have committed a second-degree misdemeanor, you will lose your driver’s license for a period of 6 to 12 months. However, if it is your second offense of underage possession of alcohol in North Port, this will increase to a 2-year license suspension.
In North Port, the court may order the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) department to issue a hardship license in the circumstance that the convicted person is qualified for the license in question.
The Use of Fake IDs to Possess Alcohol in North Port, Florida
In line with Florida Statute 322.212, it is illegal for anyone to use a borrowed, forged, or stolen Florida ID card or driver’s license in an attempt to purchase or possess alcohol. This is known as a third-degree felony and comes with serious consequences. If you are in the position where you have provided a fake ID to an underage minor, you risk going to court.
The penalties against you include:
- An order to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
- A prison sentence of 5 years.
Additional Consequences for Underage Possession of Alcohol in North Port, Florida
As stated previously, if you are convicted for underage possession of alcohol in North Port, this will be on your criminal record. Albeit this charge is not as serious as a murder charge, for example, it still comes with ramifications that can negatively impact your future. Listed below are some of the aspects of your life that a criminal record can cause difficulty in:
- Applying for or continuing education.
- Maintaining or finding future employment.
- Being unable to qualify for finance-related issues, such as an overdraft.
- Housing, mortgages, loans, or rent agreements.
- Seeking certain licenses.
- Seeking visitation or custody rights to see your children.
If you are a minor in possession of alcohol, please think carefully. You have your whole life ahead of you – and a moment of ‘fun’ could tarnish your future plans. This is why it is crucial that you seek legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Once in contact with them, your North Port criminal defense lawyer will then analyze and investigate your case. They can tailor the evidence and build up a strong defense strategy that will hopefully reduce or completely get rid of the penalties that you are facing. This is a frightening time that you do not need to go through alone. Contact The Law Place today to begin the steps towards your peace of mind.
Defenses to Underage Drinking in North Port, Florida
There are several lines of defense a skilled criminal defense attorney can take when contesting a charge of underage possession of alcohol. Listed below are some of the defenses that your criminal defense lawyer can use to help:
- Prove that there was a lack of awareness of the alcoholic nature of the beverage.
- The prosecutor cannot prove that the beverage contained alcohol.
- It could have possibly been a non-alcoholic beverage with similar alcoholic packaging.
- A lack of knowledge or evidence to the beverage being within the accused person’s presence.
- The evidence was destroyed – a failure to preserve the beverage by the police officer.
- Failure to read Miranda warnings by the police officer.
- Entrapment. In other words, the person in question was forced to consume or possess the alcoholic beverage
- The accused person was simply holding a drink for a friend without realizing the alcoholic nature of the beverage.
- A lack of a search warrant or other legal justification to enter and investigate the premises in which the accused person was found in possession of alcohol.
These situations are common, especially in a party or club-like setting. Lots of minors are exposed to underage drinking, making it difficult to realize the consequences of joining in. Whatever the reason or context may be, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney on your side, one who is well-versed in North Port alcohol laws, so that they can use the above to create a defense strategy that works for you.
Contact The Law Place Today
Here at The Law Place, we want to help, and we have your best interests at heart. We boast a team with a combined 75 years of experience in dealing with cases that are similar to yours. Our legal repertoire spans North Port, the State of Florida, and federal cases across the United States.
We understand that it is a frightening time for you and your loved ones. However, we do not want to sugar-coat anything. We believe honesty is the best way to tackle this situation. It is incredibly likely that the judge or prosecution will not be lenient or go easy on you because of your age and the nature of your offense. Although there might be some opportunities for mitigation – it is still important you have the best legal counsel to guide you through this process.
We understand that for many, this could be your first offense. The legal process can, therefore, appear incredibly intimidating. The laws in Florida, with their confusing legal jargon, can be difficult to fully understand. This is why if you choose to be represented by The Law Place, your criminal defense attorney will be with you every step of the way. It is their job to help you, explain the process, and clarify any queries. They will build a strong defense case for you and assist you in any way they can to make this process as easy as possible. If your criminal defense attorney is successful in dropping the charges against you – this means that they are removed from your criminal history forever. One silly mistake, being misled, or whatever the reason might be, does not need to be something that looms over you and your future – you can take steps to amend that today.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with The Law Place today. Call us on (941) 444-4444 day or night for your free consultation.