Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are People Taken Straight To Jail On Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Charges?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Up until a few years ago, people were routinely given a criminal summons notice to appear when it came to minor in possession charges. Quite often, these summons to appear and criminal summons with citation would have a plea agreement on the back of the citation itself which, aside from being poorly drafted in terms of the legal document, also leaves out several important facts including the most important. If somebody signs it and sends it in and they have adjudication withheld, they cannot get their record expunged unless they’ve had it sealed for 10 years. Each year that passes is an opportunity for the legislature to undo the provision that allows for record sealing and expunction for these charges to begin with. Therefore, when it comes to the straight-to-jail policy, what we have seen has been an increase in straight-to-jail. It started out with Walton County in the northwest Florida area and then it quickly expanded to Okaloosa County last year.

It would not surprise me if this year Okaloosa, Walton, Escambia, Bay, Santa Rosa and other counties across the state of Florida increase the use of straight-to-jail policies because they are politically popular with elected sheriffs and elected prosecutors because it gives the impression that they’re cracking down on crime. In reality, what they are doing is running off America’s best and brightest to leave Florida swearing never to come back again. Spring break hasn’t started this year and we will see if they go back to the straight-to-jail policy again this year. However, I would be surprised if they did not expand the straight-to-jail policy from Walton and Okaloosa and other counties even further.

Do I Need A Lawyer For My Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Charge In Florida In 2018?

You need a lawyer for your minor in possession of alcohol charge in Florida if you want your case handled correctly. If you want to make sure that you’re not going to have something bite you five years down the road because an “I” wasn’t dotted or a “T” wasn’t crossed, then, by all means, hire a lawyer. If, on the other hand, you are willing to take a risk with your future earnings and the risk of incarceration as well as the risk of your inability to know how to negotiate and plea bargain a criminal case, then you can certainly do so. When doing something of a pro se nature with the criminal case, it is usually best to ask for straight jail time. This avoids the setup.

One of the most common setups is for the prosecutor to offer a deal that seems too good to be true, such as a diversion program with the promise of dismissal, only for the person to find out that the diversion program is so loaded up with requirements from random drug testing at your own expense to hours and hours of community service work or drug and alcohol rehabilitation therapy that is not needed. Many people find when they enter these diversion programs that they are loaded up with lots of requirements and that they simply lack the time to get everything done before the diversion program expires. Many of these diversion programs require what is essentially reporting probation. It can be very expensive and burdensome to engage in the diversion program, not to mention that many of them are designed so that if someone does not complete the terms and conditions then they go directly to sentencing. Once they go directly to sentencing and if they’re found guilty of the charge then it remains on their record potentially for a lifetime.

Are People Being Charged With Minor In Possession Of Alcohol During Spring Break In Panama City?

At one point, Panama City was one of the most popular spring break destinations in all of North America. People would come to Panama City and have a great time during their university years. Many relocated to the area or somewhere in northwest Florida bringing professional skills or business expertise that this area sorely needs. However, with the crackdown on underage drinking in the past few years, Panama City has effectively damaged their tourist economy as well as they’ve run off lots of young people who leave swearing they’ll never return. This year, in 2018, I fully expect waves of Bay County Sheriff’s officers out on the beach profiling people based upon their apparent age and aggressively going up to them and arresting them or issuing citations depending upon whether or not the jail is full. Thus we will have another year where the Panama City beaches are filled with spring breakers and cops arresting or citing spring breakers. This is not a good thing for northwest Florida and it’s certainly not a good thing for young people. Generally, this is what I’m telling university students nationwide: do not come to Florida, it is not safe for you. You will be profiled and you will be targeted because you’re young and you will be harassed.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Jail For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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