In a 2017 survey by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 27% of Florida teens between 14 and 18 years old admitted to drinking at least once in the past month. In that same month, 13% admitted to at least one instance of having more than four or five drinks in one sitting.
While these numbers are similar to the United States as a whole, strict laws in Florida can mean stricter consequences for your teenager.
The consequences of underage drinking in Florida
Florida law does not allow for anyone under age 21 to consume or possess alcohol. A first conviction can mean a second-degree misdemeanor. A judge can impose a fine up to $500 and revoke your teenager’s license for up to one year. Even if your teenager wasn’t driving when arrested, a judge can still revoke driving privileges because of the underage drinking charge.
For Florida adults, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving is 0.08. However, teenagers only need a BAC of 0.02 to get arrested. A DUI can affect your teenager’s future career options. It also can affect their enrollment in school and applications for college.
Your permission doesn’t matter
While many states allow teenagers to drink at home with their parents, Florida does not. If you let your teenager have a drink, both you and your teenager break the law. Florida does not take a parent’s permission into consideration. Possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal.
What you can do
Talk with your child about the effects of drinking alcohol. Make sure he or she understands the legal consequences that can arise.
In the event your teenager is arrested for possession of alcohol, contact a lawyer right away. Legal counsel can help get charges reduced or dropped.
Your teenager will likely face the choice to drink or not. Make sure they understand the stiff penalties Florida law has for underage drinking.