Selling Alcohol To Minors In Florida

In the coming weeks over 900,000 students will commence matriculation at Florida’s 137 colleges. There is no question that alcohol is present and abundant at most colleges today, some legally purchased by those 21 and over, and some not. If you are a bartender, retail clerk, or food service employee, you are probably well aware of Florida’s law prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

For purposes of review, Florida law states that selling or serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal. A first-time offense is usually charged as a Class B misdemeanor, with the possibility of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Driver’s license suspension or revocation may also be applicable in certain cases. Undercover stings undertaken by County Sheriff’s Offices are not uncommon in Florida, and frequently result in arrests.

Often, under civil law, if an establishment fails to check the identification of a minor who purchases alcohol, becomes intoxicated, and causes an accident, the establishment is liable. Additionally, the establishment may still be liable if the underage drinker uses false identification. In 2012, a Sarasota convenience store that provided alcohol to a 17-year-old who was subsequently killed in an alcohol-related car accident was ordered to pay $716M to the family in a wrongful death suit.

If you have been arrested for selling or providing alcohol to a minor your livelihood, community standing, and freedom are in jeopardy. Selling alcohol to minors is a serious charge in Florida. There are, however, legal defenses available to you. It is important that you avail yourself to these defenses by consulting with an experienced Tampa-St. Petersburg-area criminal defense attorney.

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