Destin, Florida has become a hub for college students from the southeast, midwest and beyond as a favorite spring break destination. Each year the month of March earmarks the beginning of the busy season for the hospitality industry and local law enforcement agencies. For the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office and Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the arrival of college students for spring break means a dramatic increase in alcohol related offenses including minors in possession (MIP), DUI, open container and disorderly intoxication.
The most common offense for college students is “Possession of Alcoholic Beverages by Persons under the age 21″ (Minor in Possession) – Florida Statute 562.111. In fact, earlier today I learned that just this weekend alone, nearly two hundred notices to appear were issued by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Beach Patrol Division for this offense.
For an individual who has received a citation for minor in possession(MIP), the law reads in pertinent part: ” It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years…to have in his or her possession alcoholic beverages.”
Law enforcement travel on foot and on ATV looking for unsuspecting college students who may be in possession of a beer can, bottle , or mixed drink and whom they believe to be underage. See: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/spring-48251-beach-breaker.html
A first violation of this law is punishable as a second degree misdemeanor and could result in the suspension or revocation of the individual’s driver’s license. In some counties, subsequent convictions may result in jail time.
If an individual receives a Notice to Appear for Minor in Possession or is Arrested for Minor in Possession while in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach or anywhere in Okaloosa or Walton County, Florida, I recommend that person consult with a Destin criminal defense lawyer. An attorney may be able to assist the individual in obtaining pretrial diversion or a deferred prosecution so the student may be able to avoid a conviction.
Jeremy S. Keich is a Destin criminal defense attorney with offices in Destin(Okaloosa County) and DeFuniak Springs(Walton County). As a Destin criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients resolve these spring break offenses and alcohol related offenses.
If you have been charged with minor in possession, driving under the influence or any other criminal offense while in Destin, Fort Walton Beach or anywhere in Northwest Florida during spring break, feel free to contact this Destin Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit http://www.keichlaw.com for more information.
WARNING: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice nor should it be construed as an attorney-client relationship.