What To Know About Underage Drinking Charges In Florida (Minor In Possession)
It is no secret that many teenagers consume alcohol. According to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), seven million American young people—ages 12 to 20—report that they have consumed a significant amount of alcohol within the past 30 days. While it may not be rare, that does not make underage drinking “no big deal.” It can lead to a criminal charge. Here, our Orlando juvenile criminal defense lawyers provide an overview of underage drinking charges in Florida.
Know the Crime: Minor in Possession of Alcohol
In Florida, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. This offense, known as “minor in possession of alcohol” (MIP), carries significant legal consequences. It is a second-degree misdemeanor criminal offense. A first-time MIP conviction can result in a fine of up to $500, community service, and even license suspension.
Subsequent convictions can lead to more severe penalties, including imprisonment. Indeed, a second-time MIP charge in Florida is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor offense.There could be other adverse consequences, including for college applications and student loan eligibility. You do not want underage drinking to result in a criminal record.
A Proactive Defense Against an Underage Drinking Charge is a Must
Never ignore an underage drinking charge or assume that it is going to resolve itself on its own. The reality is that minors in possession of alcohol can be a misdemeanor criminal offense in Florida that carries real, long-term consequences. Be proactive; Protect yourself and/or your child from suffering penalties due to allegations of underage drinking. Consult with an Orlando, FL misdemeanor offense lawyer who has experience representing juveniles.
A Path to Clear Your Name: Pre-Trial Diversion in MIP Cases in Florida
If you are facing an MIP charge in Florida, you may have the option of a pre-trial diversion program. Juveniles are often eligible for pre-trial diversion in MIP cases. The program is designed to provide an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution and offers a path for young people to clear their name and protect their future. Pre-trial diversion typically involves completing a set of requirements, such as community service, substance abuse treatment, or educational classes, in exchange for having the charges dropped. Successfully completing the program can prevent a criminal record and the long-term consequences associated with an MIP conviction. An experienced Orlando, FL defense lawyer can help you or your child navigate the pre-trial diversion process.
Contact Our Central Florida Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando misdemeanor defense attorney handles the full range of underage drinking charges, including juvenile offices. It is our fundamental mission to protect your rights, your interests, and your future. Give us a call or contact us online to set up your fully confidential case review. From our Orlando office, our firm handles underage drinking charges throughout Central Florida, including in Orange County, Seminole County, and Lake County.