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What is pretrial diversion for minors who are facing alcohol charges?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2023 | Uncategorized |

Florida arguably experiences more than its fair share of alcohol offenses involving minors. For decades, the state has been a summer and spring break destination where young adults congregate to cut loose. Some of those celebrations inevitably result in law enforcement showing up and the prosecution of some of the underage people attending who have made some unlawful choices.

Young adults living in Florida or visiting from elsewhere may find themselves accused of possession of alcohol offenses that could cause major challenges right as they are about to start their independent life as adults. For some young adults arrested while in possession or under the influence of alcohol in Florida, pretrial diversion programs could help them avoid lifelong consequences.

Florida will charge young adults over alcohol

Assuming that the minor accused doesn’t have any prior infractions on their record in Florida, they will typically face second-degree misdemeanor charges for physically possessing alcohol. The penalties possible include up to 60 days in jail or six months of probation, as well as a $500 fine. Avoiding those penalties requires avoiding a conviction or guilty plea. Pretrial diversion is sometimes an option for minors accused of alcohol offenses.

How does pretrial diversion work?

Those accused of a first-time misdemeanor can qualify for juvenile pre-trial diversion in some cases. These programs allow young adults to avoid criminal records, provided that they fulfill certain requirements set by a judge. They may need to attend several hearings, attend courses, commit to counseling or even submit to drug and alcohol testing. However, if the young adult fulfills all of those requirements, they can potentially avoid a criminal trial and all the consequences it could bring.

Exploring every option can benefit young adults and their parents

If there is anyone who will feel more stressed and frustrated by a young adult’s recent arrest than the teenager facing charges, it will likely be their parent who has to worry about whether this foolish vacation mistake will permanently limit someone’s educational and employment opportunities.

Young adults who have been accused of alcohol infractions and parents attempting to support them can potentially benefit from learning about the various means of minimizing the lasting consequences an alcohol infraction could inspire. Learning about pretrial diversion and other programs that can reduce the harm to the family can benefit those responding to criminal charges involving someone underage in possession of alcohol.