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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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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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Why Hire a Former Prosecutor as Your Defense Attorney?

December 7, 2014 • Dana Morris

When you, your child, or a loved one is facing possibly the greatest challenge of your life, you’re going to want to choose the best criminal defense attorney in Panama City Beach, Panama City and Northwest Florida for the fight at hand.   You’re going to want to choose someone who had a successful career as a prosecuting attorney before entering the field of criminal defense.  You’re going to want to choose a defense attorney who is a former assistant state attorney and knows how many prosecutors may think.

While working in the prosecutor’s office for over 10 years, I was in court regularly.  I got to know the other prosecutors and the judges in the Bay, Washington, Jackson, Holmes, Escambia, Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa County courts and gained insight into how to prepare and present effective arguments in all of these courtrooms.

One of the most powerful figures influencing your case is the prosecutor. In addition to trying your case, the prosecutor initiates the process by filing the charges against you. It is the prosecutor who has the authority and discretion to decide when to file charges, what charges to file, whether to file charges at all, and to dismiss the charges if convinced that the case against you is weak or unjustified. With over 10 years of former experience as a prosecutor, I can often tell which cases the prosecutors are most likely going to vigorously pursue and which cases they are more most likely going to dismiss, as well as how and when to influence the prosecutor’s decision in these areas.  Time is of the essence for the assistant state attorneys with their burden of extraordinary caseloads.

Contact The Morris Law Firm a Panama City Criminal Defense Lawyer  – We’re With You Every Step of the Way

Only a former prosecutor has an edge over the prosecution, with experience on both sides of the fight.  When it’s your future, your liberty, your freedom that is at stake, you can’t afford to choose someone who lacks experience working on both sides of the law. Whether you have been arrested on Panama City Beach during Spring Break or are facing misdemeanor or felony charges,  call The Morris Law Firm, (850) 257-5680, for strong, effective representation from a seasoned attorney with both prosecutorial and defense experience.  We offer a free legal consultation with an attorney from our firm.

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