With proms and graduations coming up, along with the requisite partying, even parents whose kids can generally be counted on to stay away from alcohol and drugs start to worry about what kind of trouble they could get into.
Whether you’ve talked to your teen about the dangers of alcohol and drugs dozens of times or you never felt the need before, now is a good time to have that talk. The president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who lost her teen daughter to a drunk and drugged teen driver, says, “This is the most important time for parents to talk to your kids because they listen to you. They look to you to set the tone.”
Talking to your teen about the risk of a criminal charge to their future
It may feel like your teen isn’t listening to you when you talk about all the dangers that come with alcohol consumption, like DUIs, car crashes, blackouts and potentially fatal alcohol poisoning. However, you’ll probably get their attention when you start talking about the potential impact on their future if they’re arrested.
Many teens might not know about Florida’s Minor in Possession (MIP) laws that prohibit anyone under 21 years of age from having alcohol in their possession. It’s essential for teens to not take the word “possession” too literally. They don’t necessarily have to be caught with a bottle of beer or a flask of something harder in their hands or bag. If they’re in close proximity to alcohol, they can be guilty of “constructive” possession.
Maybe a group of kids are passing around a bottle of vodka. Your teen refused to give in to peer pressure and declined when the bottle got to them, but that doesn’t matter under the law. Police coming on the scene likely wouldn’t differentiate between who was and wasn’t actually drinking.
What to do if your teen is charged with underage possession of alcohol
A minor-in-possession charge, in addition to carrying the possibility of jail time and fines, could affect your teen’s ability to play on high school or college sports teams, their scholarship options and their chances of getting into the college of their dreams.
If your teen is arrested for underage drinking, it’s essential that you and they take the matter seriously. An experienced attorney can protect their rights and work to get the best possible outcome for them.