College is the time in a young person's life where they experience true freedom for the first time. For some, this means living on one's own and learning to manage finances. For others, this means taking advantage of previously inaccessible opportunities, such as going to house parties where alcohol is being consumed.
While some over-21 individuals may pay no mind to handing their under-21 friend a beer or buying them alcohol at the liquor store, doing so in Florida is actually considered a criminal offense that can lead to a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, the person accused of providing alcohol to a minor could face serious consequences that can reach beyond jail time and a fine.
The penalties you could face if you provide alcohol to a minor
Under § 562.11 (1)(a) of the Florida Statutes, it is unlawful to sell, give or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. Doing so constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor that can lead to:
- Imprisonment for up to 60 days in jail (§775.082 (4)(b))
- A fine of up to $500 (§775.083 (1)(e))
And these are just the criminal consequences. Some colleges in Florida have student misconduct policies that give administrators the option to kick a student out of school for underage drinking while on campus. Depending on the wording of such policies, a student convicted of providing alcohol to a minor might fall under this vale, meaning this student could also be expelled.
A college student's problems may not end there, however. In Florida, employers are encouraged to run background checks on potential employees as a way of limiting their liability. If a criminal background check turns up a second-degree misdemeanor, a Florida employer may choose not to hire that individual, costing him or her an employment opportunity.
Don't throw away your shot for a better future
Just because you see it in the movies or know friends who do it, it's a good idea to think twice before providing alcohol to a minor. After all, would you rather give yourself the chance for a better future or risk the possibility of ruining it with a criminal conviction?