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It is not uncommon for college and high school students to be charged with possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person under 21 years of age. The officer often has the discretion to arrest the young person on the spot or to issue a notice to appear. In either case, the young person must go to court to answer the criminal charge or risk additional consequences.
A person under the age of 18 will be charged in juvenile court, while a person who is between the age of 18 and 21 will be charged in adult court. Defenses include showing that the initial detention was unreasonable. In other cases, if the officer failed to preserve a sample of the beverage a motion to dismiss can be filed.
Contact an attorney at Galigani Law Firm to discuss defenses that may apply under the particular facts and circumstances of your case for any prosecution in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County or nearby areas. Call (352) 375-0812 for a free, confidential consultation. With what is at stake, you owe it to your future to combat these charges with an experienced Gainesville defense attorney.
For a first offense, the crime of possession of an alcoholic beverage is a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail or 6 months probation, and / or a fine of $500 plus standard court costs. For a second or subsequent charge, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail or 1-year probation and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Additionally, the charge can result in a driver's license suspension.
In addition to the criminal charges, a student in Florida can face a college student disciplinary proceeding through the university. Sanctions can include a finding that the student is "responsible" or "not responsible" for the accusation. If the student is found to be responsible, the University of Florida can impose certain sanctions including a requirement that the student obtains an alcohol evaluation and completion of follow-up treatment. Even though the student has faced disciplinary action by the college, he or she may still be subject to charges in criminal court. The reverse also applies.
The attorneys at Galigani Law Firm are experienced in representing young people charged with possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 in Central Florida, including Gainesville, Lake City, and Ocala. Our attorneys are also experienced in fighting to protect a student during a disciplinary hearing at the University of Florida, City College, Santa Fe College, Saint Leo University, and other local institutions of higher learning. Call or send an online message to discuss your unique situation with a dedicated Gainesville defense attorney.
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"Dean Galigani was supportive when my son was arrested for underage possession of alcohol..." - David