Sometimes, youthful mistakes can lead to criminal charges. When that happens, a young person’s life can be turned upside down. Instead of focusing on their future opportunity, minors charged with crimes must instead worry about how a conviction could impact their future.
To protect a young person’s educational and employment opportunities, it is essential to contact a Florida juvenile defense lawyer immediately after arrest. A conviction can limit these opportunities for years to come. If your child is facing any charge, contact our experienced attorneys today.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Most criminal actions in Florida are considered crimes whether the alleged offender is a juvenile or an adult. In other words, the accused’s age often does not determine whether a crime has been committed. However, Florida law does prohibit minors from engaging in certain activities.
In these cases, a minor may face charges for their conduct when an adult would not be charged for the same actions. One example of these “juvenile-only” laws is Florida’s ban on underage alcohol possession found in Florida Statutes Section 562.111.
It is important to note that a minor does not even have to consume alcohol to violate this law. Anyone under 21 could face charges if they have alcohol in their possession, even if they are not drinking.
Minors under the age of 21 found in possession of alcohol could face a second-degree misdemeanor charge. Conviction of underage possession of alcohol could lead to a 60-day jail sentence and fines up to $500 making it important that a Florida juvenile defense attorney is contacted.
Underage DUI Laws & Penalties
Similarly, Florida state law creates an underage driving under the influence (DUI) administrative driver’s license revocation or suspension for drivers under the age of 21. Any underage driver found with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of above 0.02% could face a driver’s license suspension according to Florida Statutes Section 322.2616.
Adults over the age of 21 could face a DUI charge and driver’s license penalties with a BAC of 0.08%, four times the legal limit for minors.
The penalties for an underage DUI vary depending on how intoxicated the driver allegedly was. Penalties upon conviction include:
- Driver under 21 with a BAC at 0.02% or higher: Administrative penalties – a six-month license suspension upon conviction. Penalties increase for subsequent violations.
- Driver under 21 with a BAC at or over 0.08%: Criminal penalties – license suspension between six months and one year; up to one year in jail; fines up to $1,000; court-ordered community service; and other potential penalties. Penalties increase for subsequent convictions.
Young people facing minor charges who have never been in legal trouble before may be able to avoid criminal prosecution. In these cases, a minor’s criminal case could go through a diversion program.
This means that instead of facing typical criminal prosecution, a juvenile will have to meet certain conditions such as completing community service.
Diversion programs allow young people charged with minor crimes to avoid criminal prosecution, record and severe penalties such as time in a juvenile facility or jail.
Whether a juvenile’s case is eligible for a diversion program depends on the severity of the alleged crime, criminal history and negotiating skills of the Florida juvenile defense attorney.
Talk to a Florida Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
Our Florida juvenile defense lawyers understand that a youthful mistake should not permanently alter someone’s life. This is why our attorneys are dedicated to defending young people against criminal charges.
We work hard to help juveniles avoid criminal convictions whenever possible. Contact us today to learn how we can help.