Changes could lead to underage drinking during spring break

Proposed legislation in one of America’s most popular spring break locations has sparked concern throughout several communities. Scores of Maryland students travel to Florida for spring break, and they could have easier access to alcohol if the new legislation is passed. The measure would make it legal to purchase hard alcohol at a grocery store, a move that some opponents say would encourage underage drinking throughout the year.

The new legislation would allow big-box stores and grocery stores to include a liquor aisle next to other, traditional items. Currently, big-box stores are permitted to sell liquor, but customers are required to use a separate entrance. Law enforcement professionals say that this move could be problematic, especially with a popular vacation time approaching. Florida’s spring break culture could cause college students and high school students to face serious penalties if they are found in possession of alcohol.

Even though detractors say that the bill should not be approved because of Florida’s unique social environment, the bill’s sponsors argue that it is time for change. Legislators say that underage drinkers are less likely to choose hard alcohol, anyway, with beer instead serving as the beverage of choice. Big-box stores are also on board with the change, though industry representatives worry that inexperienced cashiers may not be prepared to identify fake identification.

Maryland residents who find themselves in trouble with the juvenile law system in another state for underage drinking may benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. These professionals may be able to help defendants and their parents learn more about legal rights and options. Those accused of underage drinking deserve to have their rights protected, even during spring break.

Source:  News Channel 7, “Booze at the Grocery Store” No author given, Feb. 26, 2014