Have you been charged with Underage Alcohol Possession or an Open Container violation in Gainesville?
Underage Alcohol Possession
In the early 1980's the State of Florida made it a criminal offense for individuals under twenty-one years of age to possess alcoholic beverages. This crime is sometimes referred to as “Minor in Possession” or “MIP”. The law makes it a criminal offense for a person less than 21 years of age to have possession or control of any alcoholic beverage and is punishable by up to sixty days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense and one year in jail and a $1000 fine for a second offense. See Understanding Florida's Underage Drinking Law. A charge of underage alcohol possession can also result in a permanent record of conviction for a criminal offense. The Gainesville Police Department has a squad of officers, the “party patrol”, whose primary objective is to locate and charge students or other persons under the age of twenty-one with the crime of underage alcohol possession.
Open Container of Alcohol
Both the City of Gainesville and Alachua County have local ordinances that prohibit the possession of an open container of alcohol in public or in an area adjacent to a public place. See Drinking Alcohol in Public: Unlawful in Gainesville. In Gainesville and Alachua County Florida this crime may be punishable by up to sixty days in jail and a five hundred dollar fine. A charge of possession of an open container of alcohol can also result in a permanent record of conviction for a criminal offense. Most other cities and counties in north central Florida have similar local ordinances prohibiting the possession of open containers of alcohol in public.
Experienced Alcohol Violation Defense Attorney in Gainesville
If you are facing charges of underage alcohol possession or open container you need to take action now to protect your record by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, Florida. The attorneys at DeThomasis & Buchanan each have more than 25 years experience practicing law in Gainesville, Florida, representing individuals in criminal cases, including underage possession of alcohol and possession of an open container of alcohol in a public place. Your employment of an experienced and competent alcohol violation attorney will increase the likelihood of the charges against you being reduced or dismissed. In some cases one may be eligible for a deferred prosecution program that will result in the case being dismissed. See Understanding the Deferred Prosecution Alternative in Misdemeanor Cases. At DeThomasis & Buchanan we understand that these alcohol violation statutes are fundamentally unfair. It is truly amazing that a young man or woman who is eighteen years of age can serve our country in a foreign land at the risk of death and great injury but upon return to America faces incarceration and criminal punishment if they drink a beer or a glass of wine.
Hire a Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney with experience defending under age drinking charges or other alcohol related offenses. Contact a Gainesville Alcohol Violation Defense Lawyer at DeThomasis & Buchanan for an experienced and effective defense of your charge.