What You Need to Know About Alcohol Related Offenses
Common Alcohol Related Offenses Includes:
- Open Container
- Underage drinking
- Possession of alcohol by a Minor
- Disorderly Intoxication
Underage Drinking/Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Has Serious Consequences
Under Florida Statute 562.111, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years, to have in her or his possession alcoholic beverages. The charge of Possession of Alcohol by a Person under the Age of 21 is strictly enforced in the cities and on the beaches in Volusia County, especially during the peak Spring Break periods March through April. Being charged with Underage Drinking can have devastating consequences. A first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail, a $500 fine or both. A second offense increases the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to one year in the county jail, $1000 fine or both. Although it is highly unlikely that the court would impose a jail sentence, especially for a first offender, you are still subject to arrest. Even if you are not arrested and instead are issued a notice to appear, such a charge still carries significant consequences. Even the payment of a simple fine could result in a criminal record, a possible conviction and even the potential revocation of your driving privileges.
During peak Spring Break periods, state beverage agents and the beach patrol are extremely active in pursuing offenders of both the Open Container and Underage Drinking laws. Spring Break 2016 resulted in a huge increase in the number of arrests and criminal citations, especially on the beaches of Volusia County. Many Spring Breakers wrongfully assumed that if they poured their alcohol into plastic “Solo” cups or Styrofoam coffee cups they would not be bothered. Unfortunately, the beach patrol took advantage of an obscure ordinance meant to protect the environment which prohibits glass, plastic and Styrofoam on Volusia County beaches. The result was that law enforcement approached students to allegedly enforce the ordinance and would thereafter discover alcohol contained within the cups. Many students were then criminally charged with Open Container, Possession of Alcohol by a minor or both.
Open Container of Alcohol Illegal on Daytona Beach and All Other Beaches in Volusia County, Florida
It is illegal to possess any Open Container of alcohol on any Volusia County beaches. In addition, virtually every city in Volusia County has an ordinance forbidding open containers anywhere within their city limits except during certain licensed special events. Any such violations are criminal offenses, subjecting you to possible arrest. These alcohol violations are most prevalent during Spring Break periods. Unfortunately, many of those charged with Open Container violations unwittingly pay a monetary fine, not realizing that it will be treated as a Guilty or No Contest plea to a crime. Regardless of whether you are arrested or issued a citation, the end result is a criminal record which will be accessible to anyone in a subsequent background investigation. By entering a plea to a criminal offense, you will undoubtedly be required to list that offense on any employment applications, even if you were not arrested.
You may be subject to arrest for Disorderly Intoxication in the state of Florida if:
- You are intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, or
- You are intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance AND cause a disturbance
If you receive three convictions for Disorderly Intoxication within 12 months, you may be considered an habitual offender and the court may commit you to an appropriate treatment resource for up to 60 days. Although a violation of the statute can result in incarceration, a law enforcement officer may take or send the intoxicated person to his or her home or to a public or private health facility.