The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Concludes Statewide Back-to-School Operation to Keep Alcohol Out of the Hands of Underage Students
August 23, 2010
TALLAHASSEE—Today marks the first day of school for many Florida high school and college students. In preparation for the start of the school year, this weekend the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco concluded a two-week operation to ensure compliance with underage drinking laws and retailer compliance with alcoholic beverage sales. Statewide, agents conducted 1,317 alcohol compliance checks over the past two weeks and cited 145 retailers and clerks for selling alcohol to underage individuals. During the operation, ABT agents also arrested 78 individuals for underage possession of an alcoholic beverage.
Both individuals and establishments face stiff penalties for violating alcoholic beverage laws. Establishments that sell alcohol to individuals under the age of 21 three times within a 12-week period face up to a $1,000 fine and a seven-day license suspension. Individuals who sell or give alcohol to underage youth face a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. A new law stiffens criminal penalties for anyone caught two or more times giving alcohol to underage drinkers. Anyone who facilitates underage drinking will be subject to a first-degree misdemeanor on the second offense. Individuals under the age of 21 in possession of alcoholic beverages face a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.
The mission of ABT is to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of underage persons, to ensure that licensed establishments are in compliance with the laws and rules regulating the industry in Florida, and to collect taxes and fees related to these industries.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com.