Is Underage Drinking a Serious Crime in Florida?

Summer days and nights seem to be characterized by leisure, parties, and drinking. This isn’t a problem if you’re legal age to drink, but unfortunately, teens and young adults find themselves in heaps of trouble because they were caught drinking underage in Florida. Even though summer is winding down to a close, and students will be returning to regular schedules, we still have one big holiday around the corner to get through. Make sure you know what’s at risk before you grab that beer at the end of the summer picnic. Florida law states it’s illegal for persons under the age of 21 to drink or possess an alcoholic beverage. It’s also illegal to provide alcohol to minors. Florida minor in possession (MIP) laws have specific consequences that could be serious problems for student independence.

Florida Minor in Possession of Alcohol Law

Florida MIP laws state that the drinking age is 21, and being found in possession of liquor, beer, or wine opens those charged with the serious offense of criminal MIP. Unfortunately, the law can be confusing for some teens and young adults. You don’t have to be caught in possession of an alcoholic beverage. For example, being at a party with alcohol puts a teen in the vicinity of the beverages, which means they can be charged as if they were in possession. According to Florida statute 562.111, a teen or young adult under the age of 21 can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor if convicted of being in possession of an alcoholic beverage such as beer, wine, liquor, or mixed drinks.

Those convicted may face the following penalties:

  • 1st Offense: $500 fine and a jail sentence of up to 60 days
  • 2nd Offense: $1000 fine and a jail sentence of up to one year
  • The court may also rescind the driving privileges of the convicted teen or young adult for a period of 6 months to up to 2 years, depending on the specific of the case.

How Providing Alcohol to Minors Violates MIP Regulations

It’s illegal for minors to possess alcohol, and it’s also illegal for adults who can legally possess and purchase alcohol to assist minors in gaining access to alcoholic beverages. Anyone found to have sold, supplied, or hosted a gathering providing minors with alcohol can be charged with any injury or harm that befalls a minor from illegal drinking. The law states that adults charged with this second-degree misdemeanor face legal repercussions of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, by creating a negligent environment in your home by serving alcohol to minors, you could open yourself to civil charges for endangerment if any minor becomes harmed while in your home.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Today!

If you or your child have been charged with a criminal minor in possession offense, you need an adequate defense. The legal team at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. can help you begin to develop a strategy for your case.

Call us today at (727) 245-9009 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information