Florida Alcohol and Drug Laws
The following information was adapted from the University of Central Florida’s “Florida Spring Break Survival Guide,” produced in the Spring of 2006, Funded by A&SF through Student Government.
The Florida Legislature’s home page, Online Sunshine, has the full text of all Florida Statutes: http://www.leg.state.fl.us
City and county Ordinances are available through the Municipal Code Corporation: http://www.municode.com
- Open Containers
Florida prohibits open containers of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles. Drivers receive a moving violation of $73.00 to $90.00. Passengers receive a non-moving violation of $43.00 to $60.00. (Fla. Stat. 316.1936)
If the open container is in the physical control of a passenger, the passenger is cited. If the open container in not in the physical control of a passenger, the driver gets cited.
Many cities and counties regulate pubic consumption of alcohol by prohibiting consumption or possession of open containers of alcohol on streets, sidewalks, parking lots, or beaches. An open container is any bottle or can which has been opened, or any flask, cup, or glass that contains any amount of alcohol.
If the police see you holding such an open container on any street, sidewalk, parking lot, or beach, you can be arrested for violation of the open container ordinance even if you are 21 years of age or older. If you are not 21 years of age or older, you can expect to be charged with the misdemeanor charge of possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age. If you have a fake id, you may receive still another charge. Under Florida’s revised fake I.D. statutes, many fake I.D. charges are felonies punishable by 5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine!
In Florida most open container violations and all first offense underage possession of alcohol are punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.00.
Many beaches prohibit open containers. Pay attention to signs. Cities and counties generally post signs at entrances to beaches and parks listing prohibited activities. By Florida law, alcohol is prohibited in most state parks. Please look for signs to avoid problems.
- Underage Drinking
You must be 21 years of age to purchase, consume, or possess alcohol. First offense underage possession of alcohol is a crime punishable by 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.00. A second conviction is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1000.00 in fines.
- Underage drinking and driving
If you are under 21 years of age with a blood or breath alcohol level of .02 or higher, your license will be suspended for 6 months. If you refuse to submit to the breath test, your license will be suspended for one year. If you weigh less than 240 pounds, one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or one ounce of liquor may put you over this limit. The suspension is for 6 months and is effective immediately but the notice you receive allows you to drive for 10 days after the stop. (Fla Stat. 322.2616)
- Providing to Minors
It is illegal to give, sell, or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under age 21. Maximum penalty for violations is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second conviction is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Fake I.D.’s
Effective October 1, 1997, Florida’s “fake I.D.” laws were amended to clarify that possession of any driver’s license or state identification card not produced lawfully by the appropriate governmental agency is a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.
(Fla Stat. 322.212)
Lending your driver’s license or state identification card to a friend is a crime punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. Using someone else’s driver’s license or state identification card is a crime punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. Both parties may have their drivers’ licenses suspended for one year.
(Fla Stat. 322.051, 322. 32, 322.27)
Identifying yourself to a police officer with a fake I.D. is a violation of the laws cited above. It may also constitute resisting arrest or obstructing an officer. This is a violation of Florida Statute 843.02 and 901.36, which is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.00. Signing another person’s name to a traffic ticket is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5000.00 fine.
If you give a police officer a false name or use fake identification upon being arrested or legally detained, you are guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.00 for violating Florida’s new statute 901.36. If your unlawful use of someone else’s name or identification results in that person being adversely affected, you are guilty of a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.00. You may also be ordered to make financial restitution to the person adversely affected. One point should be clear: if you are stopped by the police, it is a very bad idea to give the police officer a false name or false identification. While underage possession of alcohol is a crime, giving a police officer a false name or false identification is legally much more serious.
Finally, carrying a fake I.D. in a wallet with a real I.D. can possibly lead to arrest for example if a police officer sees your “other” identification during a routine traffic stop, you may be arrested for possession of the fake I.D.
It is illegal to sell, issue or offer in Florida any I.D. card or other document giving the age of someone without requiring proof of age. Penalties range up to five years in state prison or a $5,000 fine.
- Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I. )
The State of Florida is very tough on driving under the influence. Costs associated with a D.U.I. conviction can total up to $9000, and include fines and court costs, DUI school, substance abuse screening, 50 hours of community service, and two 6-12 month driver’s license suspensions: one effective the day of the arrest; the other upon conviction. You can also expect your insurance to be cancelled or the rates to skyrocket.
Lawyer fees: $3,500
Towing charges: $150
Fine & court costs: $500
DUI school: $215
License reinstatement: $225
Drug & alcohol evaluation: $100
Alcohol treatment: $400
Cost of supervision: $610
Vehicle impound: $100
Ignition interlock device: $600
Loss of work: $300
Three-year insurance surcharge: $1,800
As stated in Florida Statute 316.193(1), you are guilty of driving under the influence and subject to mandatory minimum penalties stated above if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and:
(a) You are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical substances to the extent that “your normal faculties are impaired”
(b) You have a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of .08 or higher.
If you take a blood or breath test and results are above .08, you will likely be convicted if the test results are admitted into evidence. If you refuse to take a blood or breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If you previously refused (from a prior event), a second refusal is a crime.
The arresting police officer will prepare a written report of your appearance, demeanor, and behavior, including the results of field sobriety tests. You may be convicted without a blood or breath test if this evidence convinces the jury that you were under the influence to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired.
If you are obviously intoxicated, the refusal may simply increase the length of your suspension. The only airtight defense to DUI is simple: If you have anything to drink, don’t drive!
Federal and Florida Drug Laws
A conviction for a possession offense will result in a 2-year driver’s license revocation, even if an automobile was not involved in the offense. A plea of No Contest or Guilty to a possession offense will cause you to loose financial aid eligibility for at least one year.
Cannabis and all other illegal drugs are classified and regulated in Chapter 893, Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, Florida Statutes. Most simple possession charges are third-degree felonies punishable by 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.00.
Possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000.00. Possession of paraphernalia is also a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail and a fine of $1000.00.
- “Roofies” Flunitrazepam is a very powerful tranquilizer marketed overseas under the brand name Rohypnol. Possession of Flunitrazepam is a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.00.
Slipping a roofie into someone’s drink constitutes deliver of a controlled substance punishable by 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.
Having sex with a person dosed without their consent constitutes sexual battery or rape punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.
- Nitrous Oxide (whippits)
It is a second-degree misdemeanor (Max penalty 60 days in jail, $500 in fines) to inhale, possess with the intent to inhale, buy, sell, or transfer to inhale an amount of nitrous oxide less than 16 grams. Distribution, selling, purchasing, possessing, or transferring more than 16 grams of nitrous oxide is a felony of the third degree punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5,000.00 fines.
For charts detailing:
This information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney.