Tampa Police and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office target underage drinking and fraudulent use of driver's licenses
It's that time of year again, students have returned to University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. Every year when students return, law enforcement cracks down on alcohol offenses. The first of these operations took place in the SOHO area of south Tampa last night.
The Tampa Police Department conducted an undercover operation in the overnight hours and multiple students were arrested for underage drinking and unauthorized possession or use of a driver's license. Underage possession of alcohol is a misdemeanor charge, however having a fake ID or driver's license can be a more serious felony offense. If the ID or license is fraudulent, the offense is a third degree felony. If the ID is real, but has an altered date of birth then the charge is a misdemeanor. All of these charges can result in a criminal record.
If you have been arrested, or are the parent of a child arrested in one of these operations, it is important that you speak to an attorney familiar with these types of operations. Over the last several years our office has defended many students arrested in these operations. We know how important it is to avoid a criminal record when you are a college student who has their entire future on the line.
It is important to understand all the defenses that may be available to contest the charges against you. We have been successful in defending many of these cases by filing motions to suppress evidence from an unlawful detention or arrest. Many times law enforcement will stop or detain a person because the officer claims that the person detained appeared to be underage. Because many people who are not underage may appear to be underage we have been successful in arguing that that is not a valid reason to stop or detain a person. Even if law enforcement acted properly, an attorney may be able to keep you from getting a criminal record. An experienced attorney can also argue to the State Attorney's Office that you be allowed to enter a diversion program where, upon completion, the charges are dismissed.
If you would like to speak with one of the attorneys at Thomas & Paulk, P.A., you can reach us 24 hours a day at 813-221-4200. We always offer a free consultation where you can give us the specific facts of your arrest and we can advise how we would defend your specific case.