Florida is known as a party state, and Sarasota is no exception. With its idyllic beaches, buzzing nightlife, recreational boating culture, and countless events, it is a fun and vibrant place to live. However, this also means that underage drinking is common. The police in Sarasota take this very seriously and often arrest young people for the possession of alcohol.
If someone is under 21 years of age, they can be charged with underage possession of alcohol. This is a second-degree misdemeanor that results in hefty fines, probation, the possibility of jail time, and a permanent criminal record, which could limit your future job and housing prospects.
When a young person has their whole future ahead of them, it seems unfair that their future prospects should be limited due to the minor offense of underage possession of alcohol. We want to work with you to have your charges reduced or dismissed. The attorneys at our law firm have 75 years of combined experience dealing with Florida’s courtrooms, and we will work as a team to build the best possible criminal defense.
If you or a loved one is facing an underage possession of alcohol charge in Sarasota, FL., then contact The Law Place today. We offer a free consultation so that you can find out exactly what we can do for you before you make any commitment.
Definition of Underage Possession of Alcohol
Under Florida Statute 562.111, it is against the law for any individual under the age of 21 to have an alcoholic beverage in their possession. Possession can be ‘constructive’ or ‘actual’.
- Actual possession – The alcoholic beverage was in possession of the minor.
- Constructive possession – The possession is alleged. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the minor was holding the beverage, only that it was within their presence, and they had control of it.
For a free legal consultation with a underage possession of alcohol lawyer serving Sarasota, call 941-444-4444
Penalties for Underage Possession of Alcohol
In Sarasota, or anywhere in Florida, the possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor is usually classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense include:
- Up to 60 days in jail.
- Up to 6 months of probation.
- A $500 fine.
- A license suspension for 6 to 12 months.
- A permanent criminal record.
When a young person is charged for a second time, the incident becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, and the penalties are elevated. They include:
- Up to one year in jail.
- Up to one year of probation.
- A $1000 fine.
- The revocation of your driver’s license for 2 years.
- A permanent mark on your record.
Sarasota Underage Possession of Alcohol Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
How a Defense Attorney Can Help
A defense lawyer will fight to have your case dismissed or your penalties lessened. They will do everything possible to help you avoid jail time and a criminal record for alcohol possession. At The Law Place, the attorney-client relationship is the most important thing to us. We want you to be able to trust us and allow us to use our experience to develop the best possible defense. Depending on the details of your case, our defense strategy might include:
- Lack of knowledge about alcohol possession, this could be a good defense if you are facing a charge for constructive possession.
- The officer did not follow proper protocol because they detained you before they had proof that you were underage.
- Lack of proof.
- The inability of the prosecution to prove that you had control over the alcohol.
- Failure to read Miranda warnings, which would result in any incriminating testimonial being thrown out.
- Law enforcement was guilty of entrapment.
- Lack of a search warrant or other legal justification to enter or remain on the premises.
- The beverage you had in your possession was non-alcoholic.
- Destruction of evidence, has the beverage been preserved for evidence?
- You were holding a drink for a friend and did not know there was alcohol in it.
- Your lawyer may be able to help you to retain a hardship license through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), which will allow you to continue to drive to and from work or school.
- Your lawyer may be able to arrange for you to attend a diversion program to avoid any charges or criminal records.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are facing charges of underage possession of alcohol, then you should act fast to avoid the potential penalties. One mistake should not result in you having to face the possibility of jail time and a permanent criminal record, which will limit your future opportunities for the rest of your life.
You deserve to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding these types of consequences. Seek help from a law firm with 75 years of combined experience in Florida’s courtrooms. We will develop an aggressive defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case.
Contact us on (941) 444-4444 and arrange a free consultation.