For many young adults, alcohol consumption is a normal part of socializing. But in the state of Florida, underage drinking is illegal, and the consequences for violating this law can be severe. To make sure you understand your rights, it’s important to have an understanding of what the law says about underage drinking. Read on to learn more about Florida’s underage drinking laws and their potential consequences.
What Is the Legal Drinking Age in Florida?
The legal drinking age in Florida is 21 years old. This means that any individual under 21 years old cannot purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. Additionally, individuals under 21 are not allowed to enter establishments that sell alcohol unless they are accompanied by an adult (over 21).
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to the rule regarding underage consumption of alcohol in Florida. For example, certain religious ceremonies may involve individuals under 21 consuming wine for ritualistic purposes. Someone under 21 can also taste alcohol if it is a part of post-secondary education; however, this tasting is only allowable if it is a curriculum requirement and the institution is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (see Florida Statute § 562.111).
Is Underage Drinking a Serious Crime in Florida?
If you are caught violating the law regarding underage consumption or possession of alcohol in Florida, you will face serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the offense, you could face first-degree misdemeanor charges, which can be penalized by a fine of $500 and/or up to 60 days in jail, or second-degree misdemeanor charges for second (or subsequent offenses) which are punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. These penalties increase if you have multiple violations within five years.
Additionally, there may be other legal repercussions such as suspension of driver’s license and probationary periods. Furthermore, these violations will show up on your criminal record which can affect your future employment opportunities and educational prospects.
Punishments for Fake IDs
In Florida, using a fraudulent driver's license or ID card to access alcohol is considered a third-degree felony. Penalties for this offense include hefty fines of up to $5,000 and/or prison terms reaching five years in length; those who provide false identification on behalf of minors are subject to the same sanctions.
Understanding Florida Zero Tolerance Laws
Drivers under 21 have a steep price to pay if they are caught with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The “Zero Tolerance” Law requires that any driver in this age group found to be operating with a BAC of .02% or higher is subject to license suspension for up 6 months, as well as being required by the police to contact parents if you're under 18. Failing to complete the recommended substance abuse course will prevent your driver's license from ever being reinstated.
Can Minors Drink with Parents in Florida?
No. In Florida, it is illegal for anyone to allow an underage individual access to alcohol - even a parent permitting their own child. A parent may face hefty fines or potential jail time if caught violating this law and can also be held responsible should the minor cause injury while under the influence of said alcohol. It's important that parents in Florida are aware of such legal consequences before allowing any type of consumption by minors at home.
Get Legal Help
Underage drinking is illegal—and strictly enforced—in the state of Florida. If you or your child need help to navigate an arrest or charges related to underage drinking in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact The Wiseman Law Firm. Our firm can help guide you through the process and protect your best interests every step of the way!
To schedule an initial consultation, contact our firm online or call (407) 708-9127 today.