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Spring Break Offenses in Walton County, Florida 2015: Minor In Possession of Alcohol

For Walton County, Florida the weekend of February 28, 2015 earmarked the first of many large scale college spring break weeks, where college students embark on local communities like Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Seaside and 30A.  The college spring break population, generates a spike  in the number of persons (spring breakers) arrested or cited for Underage Possession of Alcohol (also referred to as Minor in Possession), Open House Parties, DUI, and other criminal offenses such as drug offenses. Speaking with a source at the State Attorney’s Office this week, last years’ number of citations for Underage Possession of Alcohol alone had reached tallied approximately 1000.  (This Number does not include those cases that have since been successfully sealed or expunged from the record). This nearly doubled the 600 citations from 2012 and appears to be on par to those numbers from 2013.  As a result of the increase in citations issued in recent years, and the general perception from law enforcement and the community alike that spring break has reached its tipping point, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office has renewed its vow  to crack down on college students again this year and will continue in its policy decision to arrest Underage Possession of Alcohol offenders rather than simply issuing the Notice to Appear as in years past.  Just today the W.C.S.O. issues a spring break message on its social media outlets  Here is the link to review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOhsbiOHQIU#t=30

Here is also the  story from March, 2014 in the local Walton Sun: http://www.waltonsun.com/news/walton-county-to-take-aggressive-stand-during-spring-break-1.284022?tc=cr

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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. 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.

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 (e.g. Walton County), subsequent convictions may result in jail time.

If an individual receives a Notice to Appear or goes to jail for Underage Possession of Alcohol 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 local Walton County 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. Some students, or parents of students, are unaware that the payment of the fine will result in the criminal charge remaining on the individual’s criminal history, unless he or she is subsequently eligible to expunge or seal the offense. In fact, some law enforcement officers in the past have suggested that the individual simply pay the fine since the fine is only $250.00, but failed to explain the potential ramifications. For more on past articles for Walton County Spring Break visit the links posted below or visit the Northwest Florida Daily News or Walton Sun for more information http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/spring-offers-no-break-for-deputies-gallery-1.110236 http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/32-spring-breakers-arrested-at-house-party-1.109236 _MG_0261clr_web-1

1238332_1307321658Jeremy S. Keich is a local Walton County criminal defense attorney with an office in Miramar Beach. As a  criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Keich has helped clients successfully resolve these spring break  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.

Walton County, Florida Expungements: What You Need to Know

court-gavelAn expunction of a criminal history record means that there is a court order that means a criminal history record must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record; except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.

A person who has had their criminal history record expunged may oklahoma-expungements-lawyer-fulllawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

  • Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency.
  •  Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution.
  • subsequently seeks to expunge another criminal history record
  • Seeks to be employed or licensed by (or contract with) certain agencies such as Department of Children and Families; Agency for Health Care Administration; Agency for Persons with Disabilities; Department of Health; DJJ; Department of Elderly Affairs; Department of Education (including district school boards, charter schools, any private or parochial school; or child care facilities)

Other circumstances apply where one must disclose the criminal history record, the bulleted information is an example only and not intended to be an – list.

Prior to filing his or her Petition for Expunction with the court that presided over the criminal incident, an individual must first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  The application for the Certificate of Eligibility must show that the applicant has obtained a certified statement from the prosecutor that:

  • That an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case.
  • That an indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains resulted in a trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt.
  • That the criminal history record does not relate to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s.847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, where the defendant was found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any such offense, or that the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, such an offense as a delinquent act, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld.

The applicant must also :

  • remit a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund,unless such fee is waived by the executive director.
  • submit to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to expunge pertains.
  • have never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).
  • have as not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.
  • have never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.
  •  no longer be under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.(h) Has previously obtained a court order sealing the record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s.901.33, or former s. 943.058 for a minimum of 10 years because adjudication was withheld or because all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt. The requirement for the record to have previously been sealed for a minimum of 10 years does not apply when a plea was not entered or all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were dismissed prior to trial.

expungementMany prospective clients call to inquire on the expunction of his/her Walton County criminal offense such as underage possession of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance, grant theft.  Most commonly spring breakers look to conceal their minor run in with law enforcement once they have paid the citation.  I always recommend that a prospective client calling about an expungement  prior to his/her case being resolved  address the criminal episode to his or her best ability on the front end rather than relying on the expunction process.  This may mean the individual should consult with or retain a Walton County Attorney to handle their case.  I suggest this not only for the reasons set forth above, but also because many third-party vendors who obtain a criminal history record do not receive the Order or Expunction from the Court. This results in these third-party vendors continuing to publish expunged (or sealed) information.  Additionally, it may be more cost-effective to pay for a Walton County, Florida lawyer prior to resolution opposed to retaining the lawyer for the expunction process.

_MG_0261clr_web-1Jeremy S. Keich is a Destin criminal defense attorney with an office in Miramar Beach (Walton County).  As a Walton County criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients expunge their criminal records and alcohol related offenses.

If you have been charged with minor in possession and want to discuss your case further, including expunction of the criminal offense feel free to contact this Walton County Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit http://www.keichlawfirm.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.

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