The Penalties in Florida for Selling Alcohol to a Minor

In a compliance check, a police officer is testing local vendors of alcohol to ensure that they are complying with state law that prohibits the sale of alcohol to a minor under the age of 21. They will do this with the help of a teen recruit who approaches a clerk, waiter, or bartender, etc. and asks for a drink. If the clerk does not ask for identification, if they sell the alcohol even after they know the teen's age, or if they give into a bribe, then they will face serious legal trouble. What happens when someone fails a compliance check? At whatever point someone is charged with serving, giving, or selling an alcoholic beverage to someone younger than 21 years old, here are some of the penalties that could be faced:

A first-time offense could yield a second degree misdemeanor charge. This could mean up to 60 days in jail and perhaps $500 in fines. Then it is also possible for someone to face penalties from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as well. Someone convicted of giving alcohol to a minor could face driver's license suspension or revocation.

Employees Who Are Minors

Charges are different if a minor is an employee of an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. If someone furnishes this underage worker with alcohol, then that person could face a first degree misdemeanor charge. This could mean up to one year in prison, and up to $1,000 in fines.

What are the possible defenses to this charge?

One possible defense is that an attorney may be able to show that the minor produced fake ID to convince the clerk that they were old enough to purchase alcohol, or that mistaking the minor for being older than they were was a mistake that any "prudent person" would have made. You could learn more about your possible defenses in a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa. If you face any of these charges, your reputation, your driving privileges, and your livelihood could all be on the line. Do not wait to find the experienced legal representation that you need. Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. immediately to learn how a skilled Tampa criminal defense lawyer can fight for your future.