Summer Means Underage Drinking is in Full Swing in Florida
The summer months in Florida are long and hot. Along with trips to the swimming pools, beaches, and theme parks, popular activities for local teens also include long nights out with friends. More often than not, long nights out lead to parties that involve binge drinking and potentially dangerous decisions.
In the state of Florida, much like many other states across the country, underage drinking and possession of alcohol by minors is strictly prohibited by law. Likewise, the law also prohibits adults from supplying or serving alcohol to minors.
Recently, plans for an underage party with the potential danger of summertime underage drinking was busted in Palm City, Florida.
Called Off Before the Fun Could Begin
On April 12, 2019, the Palm City Police Department was contacted about a rumor that a local teen was going to throw an after prom party for 200 of his closest friends at a local home being rented out on Airbnb. As they looked into the claim, authorities discovered the house had indeed been rented for the evening and that the owner of the home was in Austria and was not aware of the plans to hold a party there. Fearful about what might happen to his property, the owner canceled the rental for that evening.
As they entered the home to investigate, Palm City deputies discovered there was an abundance of alcohol and other illegal substances in the house — including a refrigerator stocked with jello shots and what seemed like endless amounts of marijuana cigars. However, there were no minors in sight.
The 19-year-old teen who rented the property admitted to organizing the party but denied purchasing or providing any of the alcohol or illegal substances found on the premises. And since there were no minors found on the property consuming alcohol, no one was charged for holding this intended party.
A Further Look at Underage Drinking
When taking a look at the specific situation of underage drinking in Florida, a lot of Sunshine State residents are stunned to learn that no arrests had been made. To understand why the owner of the residence didn’t face charges, take a look at Florida’s Open House Party Law.
In short, the Open House Party Law states:
- A person cannot allow a party to take place at their home if they know there will be consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs by minors.
- If a person is having a party where minors are in attendance, they must prevent minors from consuming alcoholic beverages or drugs.
Because the owner of the home did not know about the party, and because no underage individuals were found on the premises, no charges applied.
Protect Yourself From Underage Drinking Charges in Florida
Whether you have underage teens in your family or have a home where summer parties are a possibility, there are actions you can take to ensure you won’t be liable for the irresponsible actions of others. If you have a rental home, you can take steps to protect yourself by always understanding the intent of the person renting your property. And if you have minors you’re responsible for, talk to them about the serious consequences of underage drinking, including the potential to face hefty fines, the loss of their driver’s license, and probation.
If you take all of the necessary precautions and still find yourself facing charges of supplying alcohol to minors or as the parent/guardian of a minor charged with underage drinking, keep in mind that a trusted criminal defense attorney can help.
Are You Facing Charges Related to Underage Drinking?
The husband-and-wife duo of Zahra and William D. Umansky and their legal team has more than 100 years of experience successfully defending criminal cases. William Umansky is a current member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and sits on the Executive Council for the Orange County Bar Association.
To understand the charges you’re facing and get started on your defense, call our offices any time of day or night or complete our online contact form today.