Law enforcement in Florida use a variety of tactics to catch minors in possession of alcoholic beverages. In some cases, police officers may use sting operations at clubs, concerts, or sporting events, but other arrests of the results may involve authorities breaking up house parties or spotting minors carrying alcoholic beverages on beaches.
While underage possession of alcohol is a misdemeanor offense in Florida, a conviction can have several damaging long-term effects for a minor. Not only does a conviction involve possible incarceration, fines, and suspension of driving privileges, but the criminal record can lead to employment or college applications being denied.
If you or your child were arrested or issued a notice to appear anywhere in Broward County for illegal possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person under 21 years of age, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends minors accused of all kinds of juvenile offenses in Hollywood, Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, and many other surrounding areas of South Florida.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including possibly having criminal charges minimized or eliminated. Call (954) 716-8538 today to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
Florida Statute § 562.111 makes it unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years to have in her or his possession alcoholic beverages. Possession in these cases may be actual or constructive.
Actual possession is generally more clear-cut and involves alleged offenders having alcoholic beverages in their hands or otherwise on their person. Constructive possession, however, is defined as alleged offenders having dominion and control over the alcoholic beverages, knowledge the alcoholic beverages were within their presence, and knowledge of the illegal nature of the alcoholic beverages.
Possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 years of age is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense, but a subsequent offense becomes a first-degree misdemeanor.
A second-degree misdemeanor conviction for underage possession of alcohol is punishable by:
If a minor in possession of alcohol offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, a conviction can result in the following punishments:
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will also be ordered to withhold the issuance of, or suspend or revoke an alleged offender’s driver license or driving privilege. Under Florida Statute § 322.056, an underage possession of alcohol conviction can result in a minimum driver’s license suspension of six months for a first violation and two years for any subsequent offense.
Substance Abuse Prevention | United Way of Broward County — United Way of Broward County identifies itself as “an architect of solutions for challenges faced by many people in our community” that “really looks at the community as a whole and in a collaborative eff ort, creates solutions.” On this section of the organization’s website, you can find information about alcohol use among students in Broward County. You can also learn how to help individuals at risk of substance use or abuse.
United Way of Broward County
1300 S. Andrews Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Underage Drinking Prevention | Florida Department Of Education — Visit this section of the Florida Department Of Education website to find links to various subjects relating to underage drinking. You can find a list of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association’s Florida Community Coalitions, fact sheets from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the portal of federal resources at Stop Underage Drinking. You can also find links to multiple National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports.
Were you or your child arrested or issued a notice to appear for an alleged underage possession of alcohol offense in South Florida? You will want to make sure that you have legal representation before appearing court. Contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. as soon as you can.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who represent individuals in communities throughout the greater Broward County area, including Weston, Wilton Manors, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, and many others. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (954) 716-8538 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.
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