As with the rest of the United States, the legal age limit for alcohol possession and consumption in Florida is 21. However, there are still unfortunate situations where someone under the legal age limit is caught with alcohol. This may happen because of going to a party, an older adult furnishing alcohol, or through the use of a fake ID. Regardless of how the minor comes into possession, it is illegal and the Florida minor in possession law will be enforced. Unfortunately, this is no small warning, there are fines and sentencing that come along with this charge. If you are interested in knowing some of the details of this charge, or in relaying this information to your teenagers, read on.
The laws surrounding minor in possession in Florida are relatively straightforward, and are similar to other state laws concerning this crime. If a minor under the age of 21 is in possession of alcohol, this will be considered a second degree misdemeanor for the first offence (a second charge becomes upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor). This charge can lead to both fines and jail time. After an initial defense, the charged person may receive up to 60 days of jail time in addition to a standard $500 fine. Second offenses compound these penalties to $1000 and a full year in jail. Additionally, there are penalties concerning drivers licenses: after the first offense, a license can be suspended for between 6 months and a full year (a second offense will lead to a 2 year suspension). Those concerned with this law should note that minors over 18 handling alcohol as part of legal employment are not considered to be minors in possession, and thus do not risk being charged with this crime.
A court mandate after a charge of minor in possession in Florida will likely include some variety of alcohol education classes for the offending minor. These may come in addition to counseling sessions aimed at preventing similar mistakes in the future. The goal of these classes is to educate young adults about the risks of alcohol use, how to avoid peer pressure and learn to refuse offers of alcohol, techniques to help you stay away from alcohol, and the penalties for repeated violations of these laws. The courts have found that these classes are a successful way to educate in order to prevent future violations.
Luckily, these classes can be taken through online courses; this way, they are far more convenient and often more helpful for a minor who can go at their own pace. They can be taken from any Internet based computer at home or on your laptop and allow you to take them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that classes do not need to conflict with your work or school schedules. One of the many benefits is that they are completely confidential and private. No one in your community will see you walking into a classroom, a bonus for many teenagers who might be embarrassed by their actions.
Minor in Possession laws are taken very seriously in Florida, and carry a number of serious penalties. Florida residents are also advised to carefully consider the laws against providing alcohol to minors, as they are similarly harsh and should not be broken. Luckily, the ability to complete alcohol education classes online has made it easier for Florida minors to move past an earlier conviction and avoid future offenses. It is imperative that these laws and penalties are understood by teenagers who may otherwise consider possessing and consuming alcohol. In addition to the many health risks of early drinking, the penalties will cause great stress in their daily lives.