What If a Minor is Served Alcohol and Injures or Kills Someone in a DUI Crash?

It is considered common knowledge that it is illegal to serve alcohol to a minor. Florida has strict laws against serving alcohol to a minor and outlines who is financially responsible if something happens. But regardless of the law and what we know to be right, minors still find ways to consume alcohol. Sometimes parents do it thinking it is harmless fun. Sometimes a store owner sells alcohol to a minor without realizing it.

Under Florida law a bar owner, alcohol vendor, or homeowner who gives or sells alcohol to someone underage may be held liable if the individual is involved in an accident and kills or injures someone.

It is illegal for a minor to drive with a blood alcohol level of as little as 0.02. These BAC levels are based on a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking that makes it a criminal DUI offense for drivers under the age of 21 to drive while under the influence. That means that even one small glass of wine could put a minor over the 0.02 level.

Florida has a criminal statute, the “Open House Party” law, which states that it is a misdemeanor to provide alcohol to minors at a residence. The purpose of the law is to protect innocent people who are injured or die in a crash caused by a minor who was served alcohol at someone’s house. Depending upon whether the minor hurts or kills anyone as a result of being served alcohol, the offense could lead to up to one year in jail for the person who provided the alcohol.

Florida’s law is designed to deter underage drinking and dissuade those who may be willing to provide alcohol to a minor. Parental responsibility is vital to educating and protecting young drivers against the dangers of driving while under the influence. For more information regarding DUI crashes and underage drinking, request a free copy of our Florida DUI Crash Victim Guide or give us a call at 727-446-0840. We have helped victims and their families through their experiences with death and injury caused by drunk drivers. Let us help you.

Jim Dodson
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.