Underage Drinking 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. It is illegal in the state of Florida to provide people under the age of 21 with alcohol, whether they bought it legally or not.
Bartenders, retail associates, and food service employees understand the severity of selling to underage individuals. Florida’s law prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors and violating this law can result in jail time and loss of employment.
Florida Laws on Selling Alcohol to Minors
Florida law states that selling or serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal and is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 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.
Experienced Criminal Defense
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 of these defenses by consulting with an experienced Tampa-St. Petersburg-area criminal defense attorney.
For more details about your case, schedule a consultation with our team to see your best options.