An undercover sting in St. Johns County led to charges for 25 people who sold alcohol to minors. The six-week investigation dubbed “Operation Last Call” was a joint operation between the St. Augustine Police Department and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, designed to cut down on underage drinking, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The 25 employees worked at 11 different bars, restaurants or clubs St. Johns County. All were charged with selling, giving or serving alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21, the newspaper reported. The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in county jail and a $500 fine.
For St. Johns County Misdemeanors such as this, the employees are not arrested on the spot, nor do they have to spend a night in jail. They are given what is called a notice to appear, which means they are assigned a date when they must go to court and appear before a judge on the charge. In St. Johns County Misdemeanors Cases such as this, it is highly unlikely anyone will spend time in jail, unless the person has either a history of similar crimes or an otherwise lengthy criminal record. Police conduct these stings every so often to remind people that the authorities are out there paying attention and that there are indeed penalties for selling alcohol to minors. While these charges are by no means the most serious, if workers know a $500 fine is right around the corner, they might think twice and check the identification of the next person who comes in to buy a case of Bud Light. And it is the clerk, not the business that gets the fine and potential criminal charges, so it’s up to the person behind the counter or bar to make the decision.
Now, in these St. Johns County Misdemeanor Cases, police typically name the businesses in their release to local media, and no business owner wants that kind of bad press either, and would be within his or her rights to let the employee go. In most of these stings, police instruct the teen to provide his or her real identification if asked. While many teens do use fake IDs to purchase alcohol, these stings are not designed to get into the judging of which ID is real and which is not. That would make for a much more difficult case to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people on all types of charges, from second-degree misdemeanors on up to felonies with potential life sentences. All crimes are serious for those facing criminal charges and our St. Johns Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.