It’s no secret that the legal drinking age in Florida is 21 years old, but understanding the law and the consequences may either make you think twice before you bottoms up or at least make you a little more cautious. Possession of alcoholic beverages alone is enough for the police to arrest you with a criminal offense punishable by up to $500 in fines and 60 days in jail. You could be arrested if the booze is in your dorm room, apartment, or anywhere that the police could decide that it is where you control it.
If you think you are in the clear because you just happened to turn 21 years old, think again. Buying a twelve pack for you and yourbuddies can get you arrested if you allow underagers to grab a cold one for themselves too. The same penalties apply as if you were under 21, including suspeding your driver’s license.
Like most misdemeanor criminal charges, you can probably find an attorney who can negotiate a first-time-offender deal where the charges ultimately get dropped. However, if the charges aren’t dismissed, then your license could be suspended for at least six months and possibly up to a year.
Ultimately, these laws are imposed to deter drinking and driving, but like we learned two years ago from all the arrests made after the first FIU football game, the police are using their authority to deter even those that have no intention of driving. Fines generate big revenue and that means there’s more inventive for enforcement than just public safety.
Arrests can stain clean records and cause a lot of hardache when it comes time to apply for a job. The safest course is to just follow the law, but if you don’t and for some reason you get caught, exercise your right to remain silent and call a lawyer. It could make a big difference in the outcome of your case and for the rest of your life.