Hundreds of students leave school every year to travel to Florida during Spring Break. The Sunshine State is among the top Spring Break destinations, according to students and travel agencies. Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and Panama City Beach are the popular cities where you can find students soaking in the sun and having fun.
At the same time, city officials and law enforcement agencies welcome students and offer reminders of the importance of being safe while partying and not to get involved in any activity that could be dangerous, like drinking. Florida’s authorities have a reason to warn students, since most of the injuries and arrests during Spring Break are related to alcohol. Often, this leaves violators in need of representation from law firms or other skilled professionals that will fight for their legal rights.
Drinking Spoils the Fun
Students who drink and drive can cause a crash by violating the underage drinking law. They are liable for their actions and the penalty can be high. The legal drinking age in Florida is 21 years old. Yet, that does not stop students under 21 from drinking. This risky practice peaks during Spring Break, according to St. Lucie County law enforcement. During this season, it is the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 year old individuals.
Underage drinking, legally known as Minor in Possession, is a second-degree misdemeanor. A first-time violation of this law carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a $500 fine and a driver’s license suspension between six months to one year.
For individuals over 21 years old, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol has a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail, along with a maximum fine of $500, license suspension of up to one year, among other punishments.
Whether in high school or college, students who are arrested on alcohol-related offenses must notify their parents. However, this might pose a hardship on out-of-state parents who might not be able to immediately travel to Florida before their child has to appear in court. In this case, parents should contact a DUI attorney who can handle their child’s legal matters and represent their child in court.
Because Florida is the place to go for Spring Break, state authorities have toughened drunk driving laws in an attempt to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that there were 2,400 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2011. Of that total, 694 or 29 percent were alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. The number ticked up slightly in 2012, with 697 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities included in the total of 2,424 traffic fatalities.
In recent years, Florida has beefed up its laws regarding balcony safety at hotels, motels and condominiums in an attempt to prevent students from being injured. Students have either climbed between balconies and fallen or they leaned over balconies that were not sturdy and fell. These establishments can be held liable for their guests’ injuries, especially if these places failed to follow the state’s standards for balcony safety.
If you are a student traveling to Florida, remember you will be held responsible for violating state laws. The best way to enjoy Florida’s amusement parks, beaches and natural beauty during Spring Break, is in a safe, sober and responsible manner. You can still have the time of your life.