Criminal Law in Gainesville
Florida knows how to have a good time. From the south beaches to the University of Florida’s Swamp, you never have to look far for fun. Sometimes, however, the pursuit of fun can mean that you step over a legal line, particularly when your good time involves alcohol. Here’s a quick rundown of some ways you might find yourself getting in trouble – and how an experienced Jonesville/Gainesville criminal lawyer can help.
About That Fake ID
The legal drinking age is 21 in Florida, just as it is in all states. While you might be tempted to get around this inconvenient rule with a fake ID, it’s a more serious crime than you might imagine. Using a fake ID to get into a nightclub or to buy alcohol is a third degree felony in Florida. Yes, you read that right. It’s punishable by up to five years in state prison and a possible fine of as much as $5,000.
Florida Open Container Laws
So let’s say you’re not going to a club. Your friend, who is of legal age drinking age, bought the liquor. You’re driving to a private party. You haven’t even started drinking yet. You’re in the clear, right? Not necessarily.
An open container is any alcoholic beverage that you can easily drink from. An open beer can or a bottle of Jack Daniels that has been opened and then recapped would both fall into this category. You can swallow from either without much fuss, simply by taking one hand off the wheel and taking a swig. If you’re driving a vehicle, this is a civil infraction under Florida law, punishable by a fine of $73 to $90. It’s also a civil infraction if you’re just a passenger in the vehicle. This is a non-moving violation under Florida law and can earn you a fine of $43 to $60.
Disorderly Intoxication in Florida
What if you play it smart and you don’t go anywhere near a vehicle after you’ve been drinking? You can still run afoul of the law just by walking down the street or crossing the stadium parking lot. You may be charged with disorderly intoxication. The prosecution needs to prove three elements for this charge to stick. First, that you were in a public place at the time. Second, that you were intoxicated. And third, that because you were intoxicated, your behavior was such that you caused a disturbance or endangered others. Disorderly intoxication is a second degree misdemeanor in Florida. You risk receiving a sentence of up to two months in jail and a $500 fine.
The possible fallout from committing any of these offenses can be minimized when you have an experienced Jonesville criminal defense attorney defending your rights. Although an open container charge won’t result in a criminal record under Florida state law, individual counties and municipalities are free to make their own laws regarding this type of infraction. If penalties are more severe at the local level, you could end up going to jail or paying a fine. You need a local lawyer who is knowledgeable about your municipality’s laws.
However you’ve stepped over the line, Tom Robinson Law is here to help. Call or text us today at 352-222-3222 so we can discuss the charges against you. You can also reach us on Twitter at @tomrobinsonlaw or leave a message right here on our website. We’ll get back to you promptly.
Talk to Tom today.