Defense Attorney For Open House Party Charges In Gainesville, FL
In Florida, hosting an open house party where minors may consume alcohol and illegal drugs is considered a crime. Those convicted may face severe penalties and struggle long-term as a result of their criminal records. Unfortunately, the city of Gainesville is widely known for its college party scene, with no shortage of large gatherings and underage drinking in town. Nonetheless, open house party violators could find themselves expelled or struggle to successfully secure a job post-graduation.
If you or a loved one has been charged with an open house party violation, seek experienced legal counsel and representation right away!
With years of experience representing students and their families throughout Florida, criminal defense lawyer, Adam Stout, is ready to defend your rights and get your life back on track. Don’t wait — contact our law firm today to request a free case consultation.
Florida Open House Party Law
Florida Statute §856.015 states that “a person having control of any residence may not allow an open house party to take place at the residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at the residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcohol or drug.” Please note that, under this definition, the accused does not need to have known the minor under question.
For a person to be successfully convicted of an open house party violation, the following five circumstances must be proven without a reasonable doubt.
- The accused had control of the residence;
- The accused allowed a party to take place at the residence;
- Minors consumed alcoholic beverages and/or drugs at the party;
- The accused was aware minors were consuming alcohol and/or drugs; and
- Despite this knowledge, the accused failed to take reasonable measures to prevent minors from possessing/consuming drugs and/or alcohol.
Open House Party Penalties
Law enforcement may arrest an individual on suspicion of an open house party violation or issue a notice to appear. Penalties vary by case as follows.
- First-time violations (no serious bodily injury or death) - considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, 6 months of probation, and/or a $500 fine.
- Subsequent and any violations resulting in bodily injury or death - considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 12 months of probation, and/or a $1,000 fine.
Aside from the aforementioned penalties, those convicted of an open house party violation could face harsh long-term consequences as a result of having a criminal record, which is why early legal counsel and representation are critical.
How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Given how common house parties are in college towns, open house party violations are, for the most part, highly defensible cases. They can often be resolved with a dismissal or without a technical conviction. Still, hiring an experienced defense attorney like Adam Stout can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable verdict. He’s familiar with the most tried-and-tested factual and legal defenses that may be raised to contest the charge or avoid a conviction. But, time is of the essence when it comes to criminal defense, so give us a call right away to schedule a consultation!