Zero Tolerance Offenses in Florida Schools

Many middle schools and high schools throughout Florida, including Hillsborough County, have defined certain “zero tolerance” offenses that can result in a referral for criminal prosecution. In addition to a criminal prosecution, if the student is found to be responsible at an expulsion hearing for one of these offenses the school can recommend expulsion, change of placement, or suspension.

If your child is charged with a “zero tolerance” crime in juvenile court then contact a juvenile defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We are experienced in representing juvenile clients throughout Hillsborough County, FL, in the juvenile courts in Tampa.

Felony Drug Related Offenses in School

In addition to the regular consequences of a zero tolerance offense, the consequences of any felony drug-related incident can include expulsion from the school for one year and permission to attend an alternative placement only if the student participates in a drug treatment program.

Students in the Hillsborough County School System face expulsion for certain marijuana crimes including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, or sell of marijuana on school property. Students have even faced expulsion for the simple possession of marijuana on school grounds if a referral is made by the principal.

Consequences of First Marijuana or Alcohol Offense

In addition to the regular consequences of a zero tolerance offense, the consequences of a first misdemeanor marijuana offense (possession of less than 20 grams), can result in ten days of mandatory out-of-school suspension, report to law enforcement, referral to a juvenile drug court program or the Goodwill Program; required participation in a drug court program and or treatment center which may result in a recommendation for a change of placement; and other sanctions.

List of Zero Tolerance Offenses

  • Possession of a Firearm or Dangerous Instrument at School;
  • Possession, Sale, Purchase or Use of Alcoholic Beverages
  • Possession, Use, Sale of a Firearm, Bombs, Explosives, or a Weapon;
  • Possession, Use, Sale, Distribution, Purchase, or Being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance;
  • Possession, Use, Sale, Distribution, either knowingly or unknowingly, of any drug paraphernalia;
  • Possession or Purchase, either knowingly or unknowingly, of any illegal drug or substance;
  • Sale, Distribution, or Purchase of any Substance Represented by a Student as Being a Controlled Substance;
  • Robbery;
  • Aggravated Battery;
  • Battery on, threat or intimidation of a school board employee, student or agent;
  • Sexual Battery (either attempted or actual);
  • breaking/entering school board property;
  • Use of a Non-weapon as a Weapon;
  • Motor Vehicle Theft;
  • Arson; and/or
  • Causing a False Fire Alarm.

Contact an attorney at Sammis Law Firm if your child has been accused of any zero tolerance offense that occurred at school or during a school function in Tampa Bay including Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, Lakeland or Bartow in Polk County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, or St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, FL.