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Spring Breaker's Guide to FL Drinking Laws

'Tis the season to leave the campuses and head in droves to the Spring Break Destinations of your Choice!spring-break-583581_640

Florida and its beaches are a popular locale for many students and with it come the sun, fun, and occasional debauchery that Spring Break can be known for. But just because YOU are on VACATION doesn't mean the Laws are. Here are some laws that you need to be aware of to keep your Spring Break free of jail related memories...

RULE NUMBA ONE: YOU MUST BE 21 YEARS OLD TO POSSESS ALCOHOL

It doesn't matter if you weren't even drinking it. Unless you fall under the server exception, it is illegal to possess alcohol if you are under 21. That includes passing the bottle, holding the beer, or tossing someone bartender-365560_640a can, if it touches your hands and you have control over it, you can face a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Additionally, the court is required to revoke one’s driver's license for a minimum of six months, but they can bench you for up to 12 months. Subsequent offenses can result in the crime of under age possession of alcohol being classified as a first degree misdemeanor which means a maximum penalty of twelve months in jail. If found guilty of under age possession of alcohol with a prior conviction, the court is required to revoke one’s driver's license for two years. Good to KnowFYI: If you do get busted with an alcohol related offense and later are arrested for a DUI with a DUI suspension, you may not be eligible to get a hardship license.

RULE NUMBA TWO: DON'T USE A FAKE OR BORROWED ID

Don't get clever, don't get cute, and don't use a Fake ID. Here's why, it's a crime. Sure, an officer could elect to give you a civil ticket for "Failure to Display ID," or some other warning, but having a Fake or Borrowed ID is a punishable by jail or prison time.
  1. If you let your friend or cousin or anyone else borrow your driver license or state issued ID card, you can be charged with a Second Degree Misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Additionally, both people involved can have their driver licenses suspended for one year by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2. If you use someone else's ID card or drivers license, you can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. Remember a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, AND the DMV can also suspend your license for 1 year.
  3. If you use a fake or borrowed ID to show a Cop, you can be charged with a 1st Degree Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1000 fine.
  4. Finally, and most seriously, you can be charged with a 3rd Degree Felony if you are caught with a Fake ID or Driver's License. Those crimes are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

RULE NUMBA THREE: BEWARE THE OPEN CONTAINER

Let's say you are 21 and able to drink. You can't have an open container in a vehicle. An open container is just what it sounds like, any container of alcoholic beverage which is immediately capable of being consumed from, or the seal of which has been broken... it's alcohol and it's open. This law applies to both drivers and passengers in vehicles (not counting limousines) and it doesn't matter if the vehicle is in motion or stopped and parked on any roadway, curb, cul-de-sac, alleys, etc. If you can drive on it and it's open to the public (including parking lots with those 'roadways' and stop signs), it's fair game. Additionally, open containers of alcoholic beverages are not allowed within 50 feet of a public thoroughfare. This means not only can you not have open containers while driving (or your passengers or within the driver's reach), you can't walk along the side of a road with an open container. beach-455752_640 Drivers can receive a moving violation of $73.00 to $90.00. Passengers can receive a non-moving violation of $43.00 to $60.00. If there is an additional city ordinance, the penalty could be more serious. Some beaches prohibit open containers, period, and Florida decided on no open containers in State Parks. Watch for signs and beware criminal penalties for violating this rule. Heading to Daytona or New Smyrna Beach? Open Container ordinance makes it illegal for any person on the beach to sell or consume, or to possess or control, any unsealed or open container containing any type of alcoholic beverage. Violators face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 Fine.

RULE NUMBA FOUR: DON'T SHARE THE ALCOHOLIC "WEALTH"

It is illegal to give, sell, or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under age 21. This offense is a first degree misdemeanor and the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second conviction is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you're legal and your friend isn't, don't risk jail or prison, it's just not worth it.

caution-423298_640RULE NUMBA FIVE: KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Can't handle your alcohol? It's better to know in advance then after you get into the craziest fight after drinking and get arrested for Disorderly Intoxication. In Florida, Disorderly Intoxication is when a person has lost or been deprived of the normal control of either his/her body or his/her mental faculties, or both while intoxicated (or "drunk"). This behavior can land you with a second degree misdemeanor, meaning you can face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

ULTIMATE RULE: DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE

It's dangerous, it's expensive, and accidents happen resulting in death which results in prison... for years. Designate a driver (and the least drunk person doesn't count). Take a cab, Uber, let the car get towed. The inconvenience is worth far more than the penalty you will pay for driving under the influence. We have a whole page dedicated just to DUIs..it's that serious. READ THIS NOW.
Follow the rules, stay safe, enjoy adult beverages responsibly, and have a Spring Break you actually remember! If you happen to violate one of these rules, call Colbert Law at (407) 705-3220 or #DUI from your AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile phone.