Criminal Defense Over 12 Years' Experience Protecting Your Rights

Selling Alcohol to a Minor in Florida

Sting Operations Are a Typical Scenario

Frequently in Duval in Clay counties, law enforcement agencies will conduct sting operations where they go into bars in plain clothes, and have an undercover underage patron order alcohol. Usually it is difficult to tell the person’s age by looking at them and they are on their cell phone when placing the order. The unsuspecting bartender takes the order, and does not check the person’s ID.

The bartender than serves the drink. The moment the drink is served, the patron leaves, and the law enforcement officer confronts the bartender. These sting operations are designed to make sure that local bars are complying with Florida law. After it is clear that the person is not 21 years old, the bartender is charged with selling alcohol to a minor under Florida Statute 562.11.

What Does the State Have to Prove to Convict You?

It is important to note that Florida jury instructions (or the elements that the State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve conviction) relating to Selling Alcohol to a Minor under 562.11, do not prescribe a sale, meaning the money does not have to exchange hands. Rather, the instructions state:

“the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Give 1a or 1b as applicable.

  1. a. (Defendant) [sold] [gave] [served] [permitted service of] an alcoholic beverage to (name of person) on licensed premises.

b. (Defendant) permitted (name of person) to consume an alcoholic beverage on licensed premises.

  1. At the time, (name of person)was less than 21 years of age.

So, just like in the scenario above – the serving of an alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age is sufficient to be charged with a criminal offense under 562.11.

Furthermore, Florida Statute § 561.01(9) defines “Sold” as any transfer of an alcoholic beverage for a consideration, any gift of an alcoholic beverage in connection with, or as a part of, a transfer of property other than an alcoholic beverage for a consideration, or the serving of an alcoholic beverage by a club licensed under the Beverage Law.

For a first offense, the bartender will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. The statute also provides for a possible driver license suspension upon conviction.

When an Employee Is a Minor

If the person is charged with serving of alcohol to a minor who is also an employee of the establishment, the charges becomes different and are more serious. That person could face a first degree misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 fine.

What Are the Possible Defenses to This Charge?

If you are charge with Selling Alcohol to a Minor, your criminal defense attorney will evaluate your case for possible defenses. One of them could be that the person receiving the alcohol presented a fake id in order to convince the bartender that he or she was old enough to purchase alcohol, or that mistaking the minor for being older than they were was a mistake that any "prudent person" would have made.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute?

Yes. Florida Statute 562.11(4) specifically provides that if the alcohol is being served to a student who is at least 18 years of age, and the alcoholic beverage is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum at the college, along with other requirements.

Our Clients Share Their Experience

  • “She was there to comfort me during the deposition and everything went very well thanks for her help.”

    Erica
  • “She responded promptly to inquiries and had an excellent knowledge of the issues. I highly recommend Kate.”

    Mike
  • “She saved me $10,000.”

    Larry
  • “She was dedicated to my case, always kept me informed each step of the way, and genuinely cared about the outcome.”

    Ray
  • “Kate and her team will get it done”

    Vicky Zelen Jacksonville, FL
  • “As an attorney, I believe Kate is a credit to the profession.”

    Former Client
  • “Kate was extremely prompt with her assistance. She was able to get the best possible resolve working with the prosecution.”

    Kathy
  • “As all the reviews say Kate and her team are fantastic.”

    T.P.
  • “She delivered exactly what she set out to get and her compassion was very much appreciated!”

    David
  • “I feel very fortunate to have found Kate Mesic when I was in such a desperate need of legal guidance.”

    Allen
  • “Their legal knowledge helped to develop the best strategy to win.”

    Mike
  • “She saved my career. I got my life back in track because of Kate.”

    Alborz Roshangar
  • “She not only completed the daunting task, in which no case law specifically addressed my situation, but did it with outstanding results.”

    Ray
  • “As my lawyer, she was very encouraging and kept great communication as she made herself available to contact for questions, updates, etc.”

    David
  • “Kate was able to get the 4 charges faced against me dismissed! I’m not sure anyone else could have helped.”

    Daniel

A Jacksonville Firm You Can Trust

Our attorneys will be your guides through this uncomfortable and stressful time. Fill out our secure online form or call (904) 615-8950 to get started.
    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.