Busted at the beach: Breaking Florida laws can land Alabamians in bigger trouble

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As thousands of people head to the Gulf beaches for Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement in coastal communities will be on high alert.

Kristian Rasmussen, a Birmingham attorney who is licensed to practice law in Alabama and Florida, warns those traveling to Florida beaches from Alabama to practice extra caution with the law.

While laws are similar in Florida and Alabama, penalties can differ across the state line.

“Let’s say, for example, you simply have an open container,” Rasmussen said.”It’s something you might just receive a ticket for here in Alabama. In Florida, you could go to jail.”

Underage drinking is another example.

People younger than 21 years old can pass a breathalyzer test without penalty if they blow a .02 or lower. Florida punishes underage drinkers with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Rasmussen said offenders from Alabama also risk more jail time if they’re arrested in Florida.

“It’s difficult to maneuver through the court system there from (Birmingham), with a great distance between us,” he said. “It’s difficult to find people that are close by to bail them out if thats possible, or to get an arraignment or hearing set so they can be released.”

Rasmussen also warned college students, “Oftentimes, schools have a program with law enforcement. If someone receives a ticket in Florida, or is arrested in Florida, they have a program where it will be on their record back at the university.

“I cant stress this enough, particularly if your child has a scholarship, or partial scholarship money, all of that money is then in jeopardy simply because they got a ticket in Florida.”

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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