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What are the Penalties for Underage Drinking on Panama City Beach during Spring Break?

March 21, 2023 • ryan

With all the fun things to see and do on Panama City Beach we really hope you will have a great time here! However, if an underage person (a minor, juvenile, or other person under 21) is caught in possession of alcohol or alcoholic beverages, the penalty for the accused is generally a second degree misdemeanor charge. 

In addition, some Panama City Spring Breakers and locals (regardless of age) are also being charged with consumption of alcohol on the sandy beach. According to the Panama City Beach ordinance, during the month of March “it shall be unlawful for any person to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage on the sandy Gulf beach of the Gulf of Mexico, within the City limits. For purposes of this section, ‘sandy Gulf beach‘ shall mean all loose or uncompacted sandy areas, including sand dunes and vegetated areas, lying between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the seaward boundary of the seaward most public vehicular right of way.” The penalty for this violation can be found here.

So the question we often receive at our Panama City law office is; “My child has been charged with a minor in possession and alcohol on the beach charge. He/she is a good student and good kid who just made a mistake. Can you help?” The answer is yes! Our experienced Panama City attorneys have been helping visitors (and locals) with underage drinking charges and drinking alcohol on the sandy beach charges for many years.

We have successfully defended many clients on these underage drinking and sandy beach charges and are here for you, your spring breaker, or a loved one. Please give our spring break defense lawyers in Panama City a call at (850) 257-5680 for a free consultation to discuss your best possible outcome to these alcohol related charges.

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Planning a trip to Panama City Beach during Spring Break? 9 laws you need to now.

February 10, 2023 • ryan

I’m Dana Morris, a criminal defense attorney in Panama City, Florida, and it’s that time again for me to warn you about some of our unique spring break laws passed by the local PCB City Council and Bay County Commission.

We hope that you and your family will plan your spring break vacation here in Panama City and enjoy all that these beautiful beaches have to offer.

Many of the best things to do on Panama City Beach include pontoon boat rentals, parasailing, fishing, off-shore fishing, shopping at Pier Park, eating at seafood restaurants, golf, night clubs, Shell Island dolphin tours, go-karts, putt-putt golf and so much more.  However, there are some unusual spring break laws that you need to know about.   

Here are some of the Spring Break rules in place on Panama City Beach during Spring Break:

1. During the month of March, no possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the sandy beach of Panama City Beach. You must leave the alcohol in the room during March.

2. No alcohol possession or consumption in commercial parking lots.

3. During the month of March, all alcohol sales on Panama City Beach end at 2 a.m.

4. No open house parties.

5. Parking in a closed business parking lot is not allowed.

6. Overnight scooter rental is not allowed.

7. It is illegal to climb, jump from or throw things from balconies of hotel or condominiums on Panama City Beach.

8. Parking is prohibited on unmarked or unpaved portions of the road after dark.

9. Metal shovels are not permitted on Panama City Beach, and any holes dug in the sand should not be deeper than 2 feet.

I am a criminal defense attorney at the Morris Law Firm in Panama City, Florida, and have helped with countless spring break arrests of wonderful people who were in violation of these 9 spring break laws.  I want you to be informed and avoid the hassle of having to hire a Panama City attorney to help you navigate through the legal process.  If you do find yourself in need of an experienced attorney in Panama City, I am experienced in defending spring break law violations and will work hard to get your charges dropped or minimized.  Call me, Dana Morris, for a free consultation, (850) 257-5680.

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When Do You Need A Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney?

March 24, 2015 • Dana Morris

Many of the best vacations are had right here on Panama City Beach, Florida!  In fact, our beaches are often called “the World’s most beautiful beaches,” and this area is known as one of the top beach vacation destinations in the country.  Tourists and locals, alike, enjoy eating at Captain Anderson’s, having great adventures at sea, cruising the strip, enjoying the clubs on Thomas Drive, shopping at Pier Park, sunbathing or having lots of fun by the pool.

But what if the spring break partying gets out of hand?  What if alcohol, drugs or weapons are involved? Sometimes what starts as a great vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare and some spring breakers find themselves unfortunately charged with misdemeanor or felony charges.  Spring break charges that we see often include:

Was your son or daughter arrested on a spring break trip to the beach?  If so, you need a Panama City attorney to stay on top of things here locally in Panama City long after the vacation is over and everyone has returned home.  Once hired, we will file all the necessary paperwork to keep you and/or your son or daughter from having to return to Bay County for court dates.  Instead, we will be able to appear in front of the judge on your behalf.  This will save both additional expense and trouble.

We can walk you through the entire legal process, starting with first appearance, leading to and including expungement if applicable.

  • Within 24 hours of the arrest a first appearance takes place. In Bay County, the county that Panama City Beach is located in, the defendant will appear in front of a judge or a magistrate by live video feed. The prosecutor, an assistant state attorney, will be present.  We recommend you hire a private attorney to represent you at first appearance to start fighting immediately for the best possible outcome in your case.  Contact Attorney Dana Morris at (850) 257-5680 if you would like for him to represent you at your 1st appearance.

In Florida first appearances are held to:

  • notify the defendant of the charges brought against him/her by law enforcement
  • determine if there is probable cause for these charges
  • set bond and the conditions of release, if there are any.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Who’s Helped Others Just Like You

How do you choose a criminal defense firm to hire in Panama City?  A good criminal lawyer will fight to protect your rights every step of the way.   Attorney Dana Morris, a criminal defense attorney with The Morris Law Firm, will represent you or your loved one with your case starting at first appearance and proceeding throughout the entire process.  Rest assured that he will be fighting for the best possible outcome.  He has over 17 years of legal experience and has handled thousands of criminal cases including indecent exposure, resisting arrest, fleeing or eluding a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and much more.   Contact an experienced attorney.  Contact Dana Morris at (850) 257-5680 for a free consultation in our office or over the phone.

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Arrests for Underage Drinking and Disorderly Conduct on Panama City Beach

March 16, 2015 • Dana Morris

Let’s face it, spring break on Panama City Beach is definitely a wild place to be for the party crowd, and this year is no exception.  Videos and pictures of spring break partying are plastered all over the most popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Secret.ly, Whisper.sh, Yik-Yak, WeHub, Snapchat and Instagram.  If you’ve checked out any of these sites, you know that the partying sometimes gets out of hand and laws are broken.

Underage drinking and related charges of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness (public intoxication) and driving under the influence (DUI) have risen substantially over the last several weeks on Panama City Beach.  Arrest numbers released this week show that since March 5, the Bay County Jail has booked over 900 individuals.  Other alcohol related arrests we’ve been contacted about include possession or consumption of alcohol on the right of way, disorderly intoxication in a public place causing a disturbance and indecent exposure.

  •  In Florida, underage possession of alcohol is a second degree misdemeanor, Florida Statute 562.111(1), which can carry penalties such as loss of driving privileges, jail time and fines.
  • Disorderly conduct is usually charged as a second degree misdemeanor, Florida Statute 877.03, but in some instances, such as a “riot” it can be charged as a felony.

To our west, in Walton County, which includes the beaches of Sandestin, Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seaside, WaterSound and WaterColor, the Sheriff’s Office has instituted a ‘zero tolerance’ for underage drinking.  With deputies constantly on the beach checking IDs, over 280 spring breakers have been arrested and booked into the Walton County Jail in March on charges of underage drinking.

  •  If you are found guilty of Underage Possession of Alcohol, the judge is required to revoke your driver’s license for a minimum of six months.

Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer at The Morris Law Firm – We Put Our Clients First

If you, or your loved one, have been arrested, you will need the help of a reputable and knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney.  A good attorney who will fight to protect your rights is critical for avoiding a conviction, the creation of a permanent criminal record and possible jail or probation.  Call The Morris Law Firm now at (850) 257-5680.   We are available 24/7 to help you and can even schedule a free consultation.  With favorable facts, disorderly conduct charges can often be negotiated downward and sometimes dismissed at the earliest stages of a case.

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Panama City Drug Possession Arrests

March 13, 2015 • Dana Morris

Some of the very best spring break memories are made right here on the beautiful white beaches of Bay, Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.  Sadly, so are some of the worst.  We have received numerous calls this year from parents of spring break students who need our help. This made us wonder how many arrests have been made since spring break began just two weeks ago. We checked the Bay County Jail arrest records for the month of March and discovered there have already been over 900 arrests in Bay County and we are only just beginning.  We also contacted both the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Panama City Beach Police Department to find out how many officers are staffed during spring break. From the best we could tell, both offices nearly triple their normal patrol efforts, often bringing in officers from other counties on a temporary assignment. We further researched what laws spring break students are charged with, or arrested for, violating most often on Panama City Beach.  Possession of narcotics seems to be one of the major offenses the officers are citing.

These are just some of the actual felony and/or misdemeanor drug possession charges that have been made in Panama City, or on Panama City Beach, over these first few weeks of spring break:

  • Heroin possession Schedule 1
  • Possession of Meth (crystal, ice, glass, tweak, crank) with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver
  • Marijuana (weed) possession, not more than 20 grams
  • Possession of a new legend drug without a prescription.  A legend drug is a drug that requires a prescription.  This can be a controlled narcotic or a non-narcotic, such as Viagra.
  • Possession of a controlled substance (examples include Xanax, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Hydrocodone, Oxycodone (OxyContin), Dilaudid, Darvon, Demerol, Lomotil) without a prescription
  • Cocaine possession Schedule 2
  • Synthetic Narcotic Schedule 1 or 2

Due to drug laws put in place to curtail drugs being imported into Florida from out of state and even out of the country, Florida has some of the strictest drug laws in the nation. If you or a loved one is facing drug charges in Panama City, FL, you need an experienced defense lawyer working to protect your rights. We at The Morris Law Firm will work hard to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative effects of these charges on your future.

Contact The Morris Law Firm – A Criminal Defense Attorney who Puts Clients First

Attorney Dana Morris is a Panama City criminal defense lawyer who, as a former prosecutor, has had great success in winning criminal cases in Florida.  If you or a loved one have been arrested for drugs or drug possession in Panama City and need the assistance of a Panama City criminal law attorney, do not hesitate to contact The Morris Law Firm. We’re available to answer our calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Call us now if you need us, (850) 257-5680.  Starting with a free consultation with an attorney from our firm, we’ll help get you through this difficult time.

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6 things about PCB Spring Break 2015

March 7, 2015 • Dana Morris

Spring Break PCB 2015 is here!  The fun is in full swing and unfortunately so are the laws being broken that lead to Spring Break arrests.  Each year spring break brings college and high school students from all over the country to enjoy our sugar white sands on what is commonly known as “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches!”  While the sun, surf and sand are a major draw, many come for partying and lots of it.

Here are some tips for your Panama City Beach vacation:

    • Panama City Beach has substantially increased the number of police officers walking on sand patrol this year.  They are looking for underage drinking.  According to a Panama City Beach city ordinance passed in October 2014, if you are drinking on the “sandy beach” you MUST have a valid ID with you at all times.
    • Glass containers are strictly forbidden on the beach.  Avoid a citation, leave the glass in your room.
    • Florida has an open container law which makes it illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage anywhere in your car.  Currently 39 states have similar laws, but our college friends from Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia or Wyoming may be unfamiliar with this law.  Furthermore, in Florida, not only is it illegal to have the open container in the vehicle, it is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol within 50 feet of a public thoroughfare.  This means you can be cited for walking along the road drinking a cold beer.
    • Do not drink and drive.  Take a taxi!  Read our posts on what to do if you’re pulled over.
    • For the month of March, all alcohol sales will end at 2am on Panama City Beach.
    • Do not balcony climb.  Balcony climbing is strictly prohibited by law and throughout the years several students have been killed attempting this.
    • Do not tamper with any fire safety devices at your hotel or elsewhere.  Tampering with these type devices can result in a felony arrest.

We’re here if you need us.  Give The Morris Law Firm a call if you, your son or daughter, have been arrested on Panama City Beach during Spring Break.  We’ll start with a free consultation to find out more about your situation.  Feel free to call us 24 hours a day at (850) 257-5680.  We realize you are looking for the best criminal defense attorney possible for your charges.  We strive to provide our clients with the best legal defense through aggressive representation, personal attention and genuine concern for every client.

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