Alcohol Offenses (Disorderly Intoxication)

When an intoxicated person endangers public safety or causes a disturbance in a public place, he or she may be charged with disorderly intoxication. If a person with control of a private residence allows a party to take place in which an alcoholic beverage is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor, then he or she can be charged with the crime of open house party.

These are two extremely common alcohol offenses in Florida, and both are misdemeanor offenses. However, if the alleged offender’s actions result in injuries to other parties, then he or she could face much more serious criminal and civil penalties.

Attorney for Alcohol Crimes in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you have been arrested for one of these alcohol-related crimes in Florida, you will want to get legal representation so you can have the best chance at getting the charges reduced or possibly even dismissed. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends clients from all over Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Miramar, Coral Springs, Weston, Coconut Creek, and Sunrise.

Our firm has more than two decades of combined legal experience from the perspectives of both defenders and prosecutors of these cases. This background gives us a unique understanding of the best way to approach criminal cases, and our disorderly intoxication attorneys can review your own case as soon as you call (954) 716-8538 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


Broward County Disorderly Intoxication Overview


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Alcohol Offenses Charges in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 856.011, disorderly intoxication is defined as an intoxicated person endangering the safety of another person or property or drinking any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and causing a public disturbance. This crime is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor.

Florida Statute § 856.015 states that a person having control of any home, apartment, condominium, or other dwelling unit is prohibited form allowing an open house party to take place at the residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at the residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage or drug.

Allowing such an open house party is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and a first-degree misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense. However, this is also a first-degree misdemeanor if an open house party offense causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury or death to the minor, or if the minor causes or contributes to causing serious bodily injury or death to another as a result of the minor’s consumption of alcohol or drugs at the open house party.


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Broward County Penalties for Alcohol Offenses

Generally, the statutory maximum punishments associated with convictions for these offenses are as follows:

  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor —Maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and maximum fine of $500
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Maximum sentence of one year in jail and maximum fine of $1,000 

However, an alleged offender who is convicted of disorderly intoxication three times in a 12 month period can be deemed a habitual offender the court may commit him or her to rehabilitative counseling or a treatment center for up to 60 days.


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Fort Lauderdale Disorderly Intoxication Defenses

There can be multiple defense options available to people charged with either one of these alcohol offenses. Certain defenses, such as lack of evidence, may apply to both crimes.

Specific defenses against disorderly intoxication charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Alleged incident did not occur at public place
  • Alleged offender did not endanger any person or property
  • Alleged offender was not legally intoxicated
  • No public disturbance

For a person facing open house party charges, defenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Alleged offender did not have control over residence in question
  • Alleged offender had no knowledge of minor possessing or consuming drugs or alcohol
  • Alleged offender took steps to prevent minors from possessing or consuming drugs or alcohol
  • No minors in possession of or consuming drugs or alcohol

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Florida Resources for Alcohol Offenses

Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) — This website contains information about services provided for Broward County residents affected by substance abuse and/or co-occurring disorders. You can find news, locations, self-assessment tools, and success stories.

1011 Southwest 2nd Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
(954) 357-4851

Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) — You can find information about treatment, emerging issues, and public policy news on this website. FADAA is a nonprofit membership association representing over 100 Florida community-based substance abuse and co-occurring treatment and prevention agencies, managing entities, community anti-drug coalitions with more than 3,000 members.

Substance Abuse | Florida Department of Children and Families — This website contains information about the state’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Program. You can find personal stories about the impact of treatment as well as program information.


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Find a Disorderly Intoxication Lawyer in Broward County

Have you been charged with one of these alcohol offenses in Florida? You will want to have you case investigated by experienced legal counsel who can defend your rights and minimize any penalties you face following an arrest.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. helps people facing disorderly intoxication and house party charges in communities like Margate, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Davie, Wilton Manors, Tamarac, Pembroke Pines, and the greater Fort Lauderdale area. Call (954) 716-8538 today to set up a free consultation that will allow our alcohol offense attorneys to provide a complete evaluation of your case.

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