Minors And Alcohol Charges

If you are a minor who is in trouble for an alcohol-related offense or a parent whose minor child is facing an alcohol-related charge, you are probably wondering what is at stake and what action to take.

Under Florida law, people under 21 are prohibited from possessing or drinking alcoholic beverages. As we all know, the law doesn't keep all young people away from alcohol. It is common for minors to be cited for alcohol-related offenses in Florida, including minor in possession of alcohol (MIP), using a fake ID to obtain alcohol, and drinking and driving.

However, these charges still need to be taken seriously to protect your or your child's future. It's important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fully understand your options.

My name is Jason Rogozinski and I represent minors facing alcohol-related charges at my law firm based in Tampa and Plant City. Call me today at 813-473-6909 or contact me online for a free consultation.

Understand The Consequences That Could Apply

Florida law takes a firm stance against alcohol use among minors. Even getting caught with a beer at a party can result in jail time, significant fines and loss of driving privileges. Here are the consequences that you face:

  • Minor in possession (MIP) of alcohol: The first offense is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. You may be sentenced up to 60 days in jail or six months of probation and required to pay a $500 fine. For a second offense, which is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, the potential jail time increases to up to one year or 12 months of probation, and the fine increases to $1,000. Additionally, you could lose your driver's license for six to 12 months for a first offense and two years for a second or subsequent offense.
  • Using a false ID to obtain alcohol: Under Florida law, using a borrowed, stolen, fake or forged ID to obtain alcohol is considered a third-degree felony offense that can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Drinking and driving: Florida has a "zero tolerance" policy toward underage drinking and driving. That means it is illegal for a minor under 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 or more. A conviction can result in a six-month driver's license suspension, among other penalties.

In addition to all of these potential consequences, being convicted of alcohol-related crimes often results in a permanent criminal record that can be accessed by schools, employers, lenders, landlords and anyone else who is looking into your background.

What You Can Do To Avoid The Most Serious Outcome

Drinking as a minor is not taken as lightly as it was in past decades. While an alcohol-related conviction won't ruin your life, it can harm your future. For the best shot at avoiding jail time, hefty fines and a permanent criminal record, it's important to work with an attorney who can aggressively fight for your future.

There may be a defense available in your case, or your lawyer may be able to work out a favorable plea agreement with prosecutors. The worst thing to do is to plead guilty and accept whatever consequences could apply. Call 813-473-6909 or contact me online for a free consultation.