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Legal Guide for New Adults Turning 18
Florida Adult Rights and Responsibilities

 



A guide from the Florida Bar Association, Legal Guide for New Adults (2009), discusses a number of legal issues related to attaining the age of majority in Florida. It provides general information—not legal advice—on the topics listed below.

Section

Contents

General Principles

Legal rights and responsibilities of  adults 18 and older and emancipated minors

Consumer Protections

Florida "Lemon Law" for vehicles

Weight Loss

Florida Weight Loss Bill of Rights

Contracts

Written and other contracts and their consequences

The Court System

County and district courts, courts of appeal, Florida Supreme Court

Credit

Ratings, reports, collateral, lender discrimination

Criminal Charges

Arrest, bail, attorney, juvenile records

Drinking Laws

Legal age, driving and drinking, Open Container Law

Driving

Drop outs, license, insurance, tickets, loud music or noise

Environmental Responsibility

Garbage, hazardous substances, natural resource depletion

Employment:

Contracts, "at will" employees, workplace laws, background checks

Federal Income Tax

Responsibilities, assistance

Jury Duty

Qualifications, selection, payment, excuses, work protections

Landlord/Tenant

Leases, notice, security deposit, access, maintenance

Marriage

Legal age, license, divorce, alimony, property settlement

Paternity Issues

Safe Haven Law, divorce

Voting

Registering, absentee ballot, voting locations

Important Telephone Numbers

Lawyer referrals, Lemon Law Hotline, consumer hotline, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Selective Service System, and more.

Did you know…

  • The age of majority (legal adulthood) in Florida is 18 years of age in most circumstances.
  • The legal drinking age in Florida is 21 years of age.
  • Young people ages 16 and 17 may marry with parental approval. Adults 18 and older do not need parental approval.
  • A contract does not have to be written to be legally enforceable.
  • Falsely applying for an I.D. is a felony in Florida.
  • Students under the age of 18 with poor school attendance or who drop out of school before earning their diplomas will have their driver’s licenses suspended.
  • Juvenile records, including those that are sealed or expunged, may be available to federal, state, and local agencies as well as companies that purchase legal data.
  • It is illegal for a driver or a passenger to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.
  • It is illegal to operate a "mechanical sound-making device" in a vehicle at a loud volume that can be heard from 25 feet away (or closer in certain areas such as hospital zones.)
  • A parent may drop off a newborn infant within three days of birth to someone at any hospital emergency room, fire station, or emergency medical service facility without questions or legal consequences.
  • Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), rights regarding access to school records and other educational information transfer to students at the age of 18 or to students of any age who are in postsecondary school.    
  • Legal male residents of the United States must register with the Selective Service System in a 60 day timeframe beginning 30 days before their 18th birthday and ending 30 days afterwards.
  • Non-native residents older than 18 and younger than 26 must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of becoming a resident. Note that the requirement is legal residence not citizenship.
  • See "Legal Rights for Students with Disabilities Turning 18" in the A-Z Library for (1) an overview of the rights of students who have reached the age of majority under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and (2) a resource on legal guardianship.


Resource

Justice Teaching
http://www.justiceteaching.org/lesson_plans.shtml
This initiative of the Florida Supreme Court was developed to improve the average citizen’s knowledge of legal principles and the legal system. The site contains lesson plans and resources for teaching elementary, middle, and high school students, including ESE students. The "You and the Law" lesson plan and PowerPoint presentation are designed to accompany the Legal Guide for New Adults publication.


References

Florida Bar Association. (2009, September). Legal guide for new adults. Tallahassee, FL: Author. Available at http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/48e76203493b82ad852567090070c9b9/34557641d4c2f7c885256b2f006c5753?OpenDocument  Also available in Spanish and pdf format.

Selective Service System. (2010, March 8). Who must register. Arlington, VA: Author. Available at http://www.sss.gov/FSwho.htm 

U.S. Department of Education. (2010, February). Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Washington, DC: Author. Available at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html


 

 

The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).

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