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Can parents let underage teens and young adults drink in Florida?

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2023 | Juvenile Crimes |

As a general rule, the legal drinking age is 21 years old across the entire United States. This applies in Florida, as it does in any other state.

However, some states do have exceptions to this rule. For instance, states like Wisconsin have an exception if alcohol is provided by an underage individual’s parents, that underage individual can drink in their presence. In other words, it may be illegal for an 18-year-old to walk into a store and buy a bottle of wine, but it is fine if that same teenager has a glass of wine that was given to them at home, by their parents, as they have a family dinner.

Florida does not honor an exception

It’s important to understand that this exception doesn’t exist in Florida. The state’s statute on the subject simply says that underage drinking is illegal, meaning that someone who is under 21 cannot possess or consume alcohol. It doesn’t matter if they are at home, out with friends or at a bar or a restaurant. Their parents cannot legally give them permission to break the law.

Does Florida have any exceptions?

Yes, there are some legal exceptions concerning alcohol consumption for students. As long as students are 18 years old, if tasting alcohol is necessary for part of a curriculum that they are going through, and as long as the institution has the right qualifications, students can be given small amounts of alcohol for tasting purposes. The law does note that they are not supposed to consume alcohol, but this does make it legal for them to possess it.

Essentially, this exception could apply to someone who is going to culinary school or who is perhaps going through a training course to become a bartender. In certain culinary classes, wine or alcohol tasting is part of the process – perhaps for pairing meals with specific types of wine. When the student has to taste alcohol for educational purposes, Florida views this much differently than consuming alcohol for recreational purposes.

Facing underage drinking charges

There is no question that laws related to drinking and alcohol can be different from one location to the next. It is, therefore, very important for those who are facing allegations of underage drinking to know exactly what legal options they have available and what steps they will need to take to better safeguard their rights and interests. Seeking legal guidance from a local attorney is a good way to achieve this clarity.