Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association Badge
United States District Court - Southern District of Florida - Badge

Minor in Possession

Unlawful possession of alcoholic beverages is one of the most common criminal charges that minors face in Florida. With some exceptions, it is illegal for any person less than 21 years of age to possess alcohol in Florida.

Illegal possession of alcoholic beverages is a misdemeanor offense, but convictions can carry very steep consequences. In addition to possible jail time and fines, alleged offenders can have their driver’s licenses suspended and criminal records can also cause numerous problems for minor when submitting college or employment applications.

Lawyer for Minor in Possession Arrests in Broward County, FL

Were you or your child recently arrested or issued a notice to appear for an alleged unlawful possession of alcoholic beverages offense in South Florida? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact The Hoffman Firm as soon as possible.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents alleged juvenile offenders throughout the greater Broward County area, including Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, and many other nearby communities. You can have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (954) 524-4474 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Fort Lauderdale Minor in Possession Information Center

Back to top

Minor in Possession Charges in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 562.111, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years to have in her or his possession alcoholic beverages. The statute does not preclude the employment of any person 18 years of age or older in the sale, preparation, or service of alcoholic beverages in licensed premises in any establishment licensed by the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco or the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, nor does it apply to any of the following minors acting in the scope of their employment:

  • Professional entertainers 17 years of age who are not in school;
  • Minors employed in the entertainment industry who have either been granted a waiver under Florida Statute § 450.095 or employed under the terms of Florida Statute § 450.132 or under rules adopted pursuant to either of these sections;
  • Persons under the age of 18 years who are employed in drugstores, grocery stores, department stores, florists, specialty gift shops, or automobile service stations which have obtained licenses to sell beer or beer and wine, when such sales are made for consumption off the premises;
  • Persons 17 years of age or over or any person furnishing evidence that he or she is a senior high school student with written permission of the principal of said senior high school or that he or she is a senior high school graduate, or any high school graduate, employed by a bona fide food service establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold, provided such persons do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of the beverages and that their duties are of such nature as to provide them with training and knowledge as might lead to further advancement in food service establishments;
  • Persons under the age of 18 years employed as bellhops, elevator operators, and others in hotels when such employees are engaged in work apart from the portion of the hotel property where alcoholic beverages are offered for sale for consumption on the premises;
  • Persons under the age of 18 years employed in bowling alleys in which alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed, so long as such minors do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of such beverages;
  • Persons under the age of 18 years employed by a bona fide dinner theater as defined in this paragraph, as long as their employment is limited to the services of an actor, actress, or musician. For the purposes of this paragraph, a dinner theater means a theater presenting consecutive productions playing no less than 3 weeks each in conjunction with dinner service on a regular basis. In addition, both events must occur in the same room, and the only advertised price of admission must include both the cost of the meal and the attendance at the performance; and
  • Persons under the age of 18 years who are employed in places of business licensed under Florida Statute § 565.02(6), provided such persons do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of alcoholic beverages.

A first offense for possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under age 21 is a second-degree misdemeanor, but any subsequent offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. If an alleged offender is issues a notice to appear instead of being taken into custody, the notice is still the equivalent of an arrest and any failure to appear in court can lead to a warrant being issued for the alleged offender’s arrest.

Back to top

Broward County Minor in Possession Penalties

As a second-degree misdemeanor, a conviction for a first underage possession of alcohol offense is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Subsequent convictions are first-degree misdemeanor offenses punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

In addition to the penalties establishes above, a court will also direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold the issuance of, or suspend or revoke, an alleged offender’s driver license or driving privilege, as provided in Florida Statute § 322.056. Under this statute, minor in possession alcohol violations can lead to alleged offenders having their licenses suspended for a minimum of six months for a first violation and two years for any subsequent offense.

Back to top

Florida Resources for Minor in Possession Offenses

Broward Prevention | Alcohol — The Diversity, Prevention & Intervention (DPI) Department of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has the goal “to lead the change for all BCPS students in achieving lifelong academic, behavioral, social and emotional success.” On this section of the DPI website, you can learn more about its Alcohol Abuse Prevention program. Access data and surveys, watch videos, and find a link to the “Broward Briefings” section of the United Way of Broward County’s website.

Broward County Public Schools Diversity, Prevention & Intervention Department
Lauderdale Manors Early Learning & Resource Center
1400 NW 14th Ct.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
(754) 321-1655

P.N. v. State, 976 So.2d 90, 91 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008) — A police officer on a patrol boat saw a juvenile holding a Budweiser beer bottle and proceeded to move his patrol boat closer to the shore where the juvenile was seated. The officer ordered the juvenile to board the boat, and while the juvenile eventually complied, he failed to bring the beer bottle with him as he boarded the patrol boat. A peer of the juvenile’s retrieved the bottle for the officer, but the officer testified that it was full of sand and salt water upon his receipt. The trial court denied the juvenile’s defense moved for a judgment of dismissal on the ground that the State failed to present any evidence that the beer bottle contained alcohol, but the trial court denied the motion. The Third District Court of Appeal found that the State failed to provide any evidence that the contents of the bottle possessed by the juvenile contained alcohol and reversed the adjudication of delinquency.

Back to top

The Hoffman Firm | Broward County Minor in Possession Defense Attorney

If you or your child were arrested or issued a notice to appear in Broward County for alleged possession of alcohol by a minor, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm defends clients in Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Margate, Plantation, and many surrounding areas of South Florida.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has handled these types of cases on both sides of the aisle as a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Back to top

Client Reviews
I found myself in an unfortunate situation. A fried gave me evan' s personal number and we spoke for over an hour. I felt so reassured and grateful for his time. Needless to say I write this review with great pleasure. A call to thank evan would not be justified as I want anyone who ever finds themselves in my situation to know who to call. Thank you evan I cannot say enough good things about you. Edwin
I was arrested wrongfully and the police would not listen to my story. Evan contacted the state attorney and got all the charges dismissed. I was in danger of losing my job but thankfully Evan and his staff did am amazing job. It's easy to trash an attorney these days but thankfully there are lawyers like Evan who actually care about their clients. John
Great results all the way around from begin to end and the end was in my favor thx again for great service and results Larry