There are rules and regulations everywhere you look, and it’s important to be cognizant of the law. As they say, ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’, and a number of laws are important to know and understand.
In this series of articles, we will be explaining some of the laws with which you should probably be familiar, and this installment discussed Florida Legal Age and the Age of Majority in Florida.
In the overwhelming majority of states, the age of majority is 18. However, a number of other factors can affect the age of majority, including marriage and emancipation. Below, you’ll find information about Florida legal ages laws, including when minors have the ability to sue and eligibility requirements for emancipation.
Florida Age of Majority
The age of majority in Florida is 18. This means that when you turn 18, you gain almost all of the legal rights that adults have. Some of those include the right to vote, and getting a driver’s license without parental permission. Turning 18 also comes with responsibilities, like the ability to be sued in court, and serving on a jury.
Purchasing Alcohol in Florida
In Florida, and the rest of the United States, you must be 21 years old to purchase alcohol. This is true even if you are emancipated before you turn 18.
Almost all states, including Florida, have zero tolerance alcohol laws, for minors caught driving with alcohol in their system. This means that anyone under 21 years of age who is caught driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .02 or above will have their license suspended immediately for a period of 6 months, unlike the legal standard of .08 or above for a person driving who is 21 years of age or older.
Eligibility for Emancipation
Even if you are under 18, you may be able to get some rights normally reserved for adults if you are legally emancipated. This means that a court declares you to be a legal adult even if you are underage. Normally, you must be at least sixteen years old to be eligible for emancipation.
Legal Age to Marry, Legal Effects of Marriage
The legal age to marry in Florida is 18. However, with parental permission, you may get married as young as 16. In Florida, marriage is a form of emancipation, which means that you will get many of the rights and responsibilities that come with being an adult.
Age Requirements and Contracts
Generally speaking, you must be 18 years old to enter into a contract. However, if you are under 18, you still may be able to sue to enforce a contract, but the other party may not be able to sue to enforce the contract against you. Students as young as 16 may be able to enter into loan contracts for higher education expenses.
Legal Age to Sue
In most cases, you must be 18 to sue someone. If you are not, you must have your guardian or personal representative sue on your behalf.
Prosecution as an Adult.
Even if you are underage, committing certain criminal offenses can result in prosecution as an adult. This can occur as a ‘waiver’ when the judge moves the case from juvenile court to adult court, when a crime excluded from juvenile prosecution is charged, or when a prosecutor has the discretion to file the case in juvenile or adult court. Some crimes, like truancy, can only be charged against minors.
This series is not meant to constitute legal advice, and you should always consult an attorney when in doubt, when making life-changing legal decisions or when accused of a crime. If you have a suggestion for an article, please submit your idea in email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Wilson is an attorney practicing law in the greater Panama City, Florida area, with offices in Marianna, Chipley, Bonifay, Blountstown and Panama City. For more information please call Greg Wilson at 850-600-7088 or visit his website at www.GregWilsonLawFirm.com.