Underage drinking is a common problem that spans not just in the State of Florida but across the entire United States. Just because it is a common trend, and it feels like ‘everyone is doing it,’ does not mean that there aren’t consequences for doing so. As found in Florida Statute 562.111, if you are convicted for underage possession of alcohol, it is punishable by a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are charged, you face a monetary fine as well as 60 days in jail. As a young person, this is not something you want on your permanent record for the future. You must consider, is a moment of drinking worth the consequences that carry forward for the rest of your life?
Here at The Law Place, we recognize how frightening of a time this is for you, or if this is in relation to your son or daughter, we understand that you only want the best for them. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you or your child is facing underage possession of alcohol charges, it is important that you act quickly and seek legal consultation. Once you get in touch with The Law Place, you will be paired with an experienced criminal defense attorney. They will be able to fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely – but this can’t happen until you contact us.
Call us at our St. Petersburg, FL., law firm today. Our telephone lines are available around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Once you call us, you will receive a non-obligatory free consultation to figure out the next steps you need to move forward. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 to begin these vital steps.
Underage Possession of Alcohol in St. Petersburg, Florida
Across Florida and the United States, it is illegal for a minor under the age of 21 to be in possession of an alcoholic beverage. We have collated some facts that will help you get a clearer understanding of the legalities surrounding underage possession of alcohol in St. Petersburg.
- It is legal to consume any alcoholic beverage in Florida when you are under the age of 21.
- Parents and guardians are forbidden under any circumstances to give alcohol to minors. This also includes at home, in a restaurant, hotel, etc. It may seem innocent, but it means that the adult in question is helping to facilitate underage drinking.
- If you work in the hospitality industry and are under 18 years of age, legally, you are not permitted to sell or serve alcohol.
- If you work in the hospitality industry and are 18 years of age or over, you are permitted to legally sell and serve alcohol.
- In St. Petersburg and the rest of Florida, it is illegal to be in possession or to be involved in making fake IDs. If you are caught with one, you will be refused alcohol and be facing law enforcement.
If you RE facing charges for serving alcohol to an underage minor, or you are the parent of a child who is facing charges for the underage possession of alcohol, you must seek legal assistance. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will be able to tailor the best possible defense for your case and get the justice you deserve. Contact The Law Place in St. Petersburg today to begin your next steps.
What Are the Penalties for Underage Possession of Alcohol in St. Petersburg, Florida?
As mentioned previously, if you are under the age of 21 and caught in possession of alcohol by law enforcement, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor crime. Although it might appear as an innocent mistake, this is a serious charge in St. Petersburg. If convicted, you face a fine of $500, 60 days in jail, or in some cases you could receive a 6 month probation period.
However, in the event that if you are under the age of 21 and are convicted for the second time of being in ]possession of alcohol, the charge is extended to a first-degree misdemeanor. The consequences of this are one year of jail time or a one year probation period. The monetary fine is increased to $1,000.
If you are convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor, you will receive a driving license suspension of up to 6-12 months. However, if it is your second time being convicted of the same offense in St. Petersburg, FL., you will have a license suspension of 2 years.
In St. Petersburg, it is possible that the court could order the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) to issue you a hardship license. This can only come into effect if the person who has been convicted is able to qualify for one of these licenses.
Can I Use a Fake ID in St. Petersburg, Florida?
In short, the answer is never. As stated in Florida Statute 322.212, it is illegal for a person to use a borrowed, stolen, or forged ID or driving license in an attempt to buy alcohol. If you are caught using a fake ID, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. Felonies are much more serious than a misdemeanor charge and are not something that you want to have on your criminal record. Not only do you not want to be in possession of a fake ID, but there are also consequences if you have supplied a fake ID to a minor. You automatically risk having a court sentence. Listed below are the penalties that you may also receive:
- A fine of $5,000.
- 5 years of imprisonment.
As you can see, these are serious consequences. This is why it is crucial that you have strong legal representation on your side who can fight to have these charges reduced or dropped for you.
Additional Consequences for Underage Possession of Alcohol in Florida
A charge for underage possession of alcohol will remain on your criminal record for life. Arguably this charge is less severe than that of rape, murder, etc. But this does not mean that it won’t impact your future plans. We have stated below some situations that having a criminal record can cause problems for:
- Complications when applying for or remaining in education/higher education.
- Complications in remaining in or searching for future employment.
- Difficulty in qualifying for financial support. For example, a bank overdraft.
- Complications when looking for housing, e.g., struggling with rent agreements, loans, or mortgage settlements.
- Complications in visitation or custody rights regarding your children.
As a minor, being under the age of 21, you really do have your entire life ahead of you. The world is your oyster, so to speak. Is a moment of weakness really worth it if it is going to impact your future so greatly? At The Law Place, we understand that mistakes can be made. This is why we want to support you through this time, and we have a team full of skilled criminal defense lawyers who can help you with your case. This is a stressful and scary time, one that you do not need to try and handle on your own. Once you contact us, your criminal defense attorney can build a strong defense case in the hope of reducing or getting your charges dropped entirely. Please do not hesitate to contact us today.
What Are the Possible Defenses Against Underage Possession of Alcohol in St. Petersburg, FL?
In the case of underage possession of alcohol in St. Petersburg, they are several avenues of defense that your criminal defense lawyer can use to fight for you. Listed below are some of the aspects your criminal defense lawyer can utilize for your case:
- There must be proof that there was a lack of awareness from the defendant that the beverage was an alcoholic one.
- The prosecution is unable to prove that the beverage in question contained alcohol.
- The beverage in question was a non-alcoholic one but packaged in a similar-looking alcoholic packaging.
- There is a lack of evidence to support that the beverage in question was in the defendant’s presence.
- The evidence to support the prosecution was destroyed.
- There was a clear failure to read Miranda warnings by the police officer. This would then result in any kind of incriminating statements given against the defendant being removed as evidence.
- The defendant was forced to consume or be in possession of alcohol.
- The defendant was just holding the alcoholic beverage for a friend, not consuming it, or realizing it was alcoholic in the first place.
- There was no search warrant or any sort of legal justification for entering and investigating the premises where the defendant was found in supposed possession of alcohol.
Contact The Law Place, St. Petersburg, Today!
At The Law Place, the client is at the heart of the work we do. In your case, this will be no different. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has 75 years worth of combined experience in working cases that are similar to yours. In some cases, there might be some opportunities for mitigation. But we cannot promise that the judge or jury will go easy on you due to your age. It will likely be treated like any other kind of criminal case. Therefore, you need strong legal representation to guide you through this legal process.
Don’t let one blunder at a party be the reason you have an offense on your criminal record for life. Fight to change this by contacting The Law Place today. Once you call, you will have a free consultation with a member of our team. Contact us on (941) 444-4444 today. We are waiting for your call.