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By Jessica Travis on Monday, October 14, 2013
With the holidays right around the corner many people across this nation will spend days taking off from their hard work to relax with family and friends. However, it is important to remember that although it may feel acceptable to get lost in the holiday celebration, law enforcement is still hard at work and they are cracking down on the law during this season.
Halloween is the first celebratory day that kicks off this holiday season. On October 31st, children fill the blocks with bags full of candy, parents attend Halloween themed parties dressed as vampires and witches, and ghosts and zombies wander around attempting to scare anyone who is looking for a fright. To many, these monsters and goons can cause quite a scare, but to others, the real fright still lies in the legal system and the consequences that one can face if the laws are broken during this holiday event. Because the law does not take the night off on Halloween, it is vital to discuss the laws that are often broken on this night and the penalties that breaking these laws may carry.
The first law that is often broken on this celebratory night is public intoxication. With costume parties taking place and haunted houses filling up, alcohol flows just as plentiful as candy on Halloween. People often get lost in the celebration and the alcohol can get the best of them. Florida Statute § 856.011 provides “that that no person shall be intoxicated and disturbing the peace while in public”. Violating this law and being found drunk in public is a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days of jail and/or a $500 fine. However, because the statute seems vague, an attorney can often find many defenses against this violation and can fight the charge in court.
Not only can a person get in legal trouble by consuming too much alcohol in public, but they can also be caught breaking the law by serving alcohol to minors. With parties happening all over on this night, it is often easy to forget that supplying alcohol to minors, even if it may seem harmless, is also a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor. Although some states have exceptions to this law, Florida Statute § 562.11 provides that is strictly illegal to serve alcohol to minors in Florida under any circumstances.
As the Halloween night comes to an end, the police will be on the lookout for people driving under the influence. As people make their way back home after an eventful night of tricks and treats, officers will be in full force attempting to arrest people for DUIs. Florida Statute § 316.193 outlines that there are minimum penalties for driving under the influence, including no less than a $500 dollar fine and a 6 month loss of a driver’s license. The maximum penalties can be much more severe and depend on the circumstances of the case.
Although the legal ramifications that can occur due to violating the law may seem scarier than any Halloween gimmick, the holiday season is meant to be enjoyed with ease and relaxation. Even if you find yourself facing penalties for an alleged violation of a law, you can put your mind at ease by obtaining strong legal representation and making sure your rights are upheld in court. The law may never take a night off, but with plenty of legal information and proper knowledge of the law, you can enjoy your nights off and make the best of this holiday season.
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