Spring Break in Florida: A Legal Minefield


As spring breakers flock to the Sunshine State for fun in the sun, what starts as enjoyment can quickly escalate into encounters with law enforcement. Whether you are a resident or a visitor celebrating spring break festivities, you may find yourself on the other side of the law, necessitating a strong criminal defense legal team to protect your rights and freedoms.

Enforcement Measures in Florida

Due to the yearly surge in criminal activity during spring break, Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the public on March 5, 2024, emphasizing Florida’s commitment to “law and order.” He warned spring breakers of the consequences of committing crimes, stating, “You are going to pay the price, and we will hold you accountable, because that’s what we do here.” 

The Governor disclosed that 17 local law enforcement agencies requested and will receive assistance from Florida State Troopers this year. Moreover, certain areas will utilize drones and mobile command vehicles for enhanced traffic monitoring. Both the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) are deploying manpower and tactical assets to popular spring break destinations. 

Advocating for Justice: The AP Law Group’s Approach

As legal challenges intensify during spring break, having a dedicated team on your side is crucial. At The AP Law Group, we steadfastly defend our clients’ rights. We firmly believe in the principle that every arrest presents two perspectives. Individuals confronting criminal charges deserve a fair and impartial legal process where accusations undergo thorough scrutiny and opposition. We are committed to upholding the presumption of innocence and advocating vigorously for our client’s rights, striving to achieve the most favorable outcome for those we represent. 

Common Offenses: From Misdemeanors to Felonies

  • Underage Drinking: One of the most prevalent offenses during spring break is underage drinking. Florida maintains strict laws regarding alcohol consumption for individuals under 21, and law enforcement officers are vigilant in enforcing them. Under Florida law, a minor accused of underage possession of alcohol faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge. Penalties for this offense may include a maximum of 60 days in jail or six months of probation, coupled with a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses carry more severe charges and penalties.
  • Drug Possession: In Florida, drug laws are stringent and enforced rigorously, especially during high-traffic periods like spring break. From marijuana to harder substances, possessing or distributing illegal drugs can lead to severe legal consequences, including substantial fines and lengthy incarceration. There may be misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the type and amount of the drug and the criminal history of the offender. 
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence): Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense, posing a danger to both the driver and everyone else on the road. Florida imposes strict penalties for these offenses, including jail time, license suspension, community service, installation of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices, and fines. DUI charges range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on whether it is a first offense, subsequent offense, the blood alcohol level, or a crash causing serious bodily injury or death. 
  • Disorderly Conduct: During spring break, disorderly conduct can manifest in various ways due to the large crowds, alcohol consumption, and the festive atmosphere. Examples may include public intoxication, fights and altercations, noise complaints from residents and businesses, public nudity or indecent exposure, or refusal to disperse. Penalties for a conviction vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and may include fines, community service, probation, or jail time.

Long-Term Ramifications of a Criminal Record

A criminal record can have profound and lasting consequences for individuals, especially for underage students who are just beginning their path in life. Beyond the punitive measures of the criminal justice system, a young person’s future is affected in many ways. It can severely limit educational and employment opportunities, serving as a barrier to success. Additionally, ramifications may be the forfeiture of driver’s licenses or eligibility for housing or government programs. The stigma associated with a criminal record can take a toll on one’s emotional well-being and personal relationships.

The AP Law Group: Securing Your Tomorrow by Defending Your Rights Today

If you confront criminal charges during spring break in Florida, rely on The AP Law Group for strong criminal defense. With offices in Ocala and Gainesville, Florida, we advocate for clients across Marion and Alachua Counties and the surrounding areas. Contact us at (352) 732-9191 to schedule an appointment with a dedicated trial attorney who will fiercely protect your rights and interests.  Let us navigate the legal complexities and safeguard your freedom during this critical time.