Laws & Legal Matters

Laws

You must be sure to abide by the law while you are in the United States. Failure to abide by the law may result in significant fines and may put your immigration status at risk.

Bicycles

Florida law considers bicycles moving on the street to be subject to the same laws as cars moving on the street. You may get a ticket for disobeying any motor vehicle laws including:

  • Stop at stop signs.
  • Obey traffic signals.
  • Signal for turns.
  • Use front and rear lights at night.
  • Ride in the correct direction on a one-way street
  • DO NOT wear headphones.
  • Always yield to pedestrians.

Alcohol

The city of Gainesville, the state of Florida and the United States have several laws regarding alcohol that you must be aware of if you plan to consume alcohol:

  • It is illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in a public space including a car.
  • Bars and clubs close at 2am and you must leave the establishment upon closing.
  • It is illegal to purchase, possess or consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21.

For your safety:

  • Never leave your drink unattended.  Be smart and aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not drink excessively.
  • Do not accept a drink from a stranger.
  • Always go out in a group and with people you trust.

Smoking

In the state of Florida, smoking is not allowed in any public buildings, including restaurants. It is also illegal to smoke within 50 feet of an entrance to a public building. UF campus is a tobacco free environment.  You must go off-campus to smoke.

Student Legal Services

Student Legal Services is a professional legal office that has been providing legal assistance to the students of the University of Florida since 1977. Funded by Student Government through Activities and Service fees, Student Legal Services is essentially a pre-paid legal service for full-time UF students. Student Legal Services is staffed by licensed attorneys who are available to assist students in understanding and solving their legal problems. Preventing legal problems through education is a primary goal of Student Legal Services. Student Legal Services also educates students on their legal rights and responsibilities through lectures, workshops, presentations, and the distribution of information and materials on a variety of legal issues.

Eligibility
All full-time University of Florida students, including non-degree seeking students, are eligible for free legal services.

  • Undergraduate students enrolled in 12 semester hours.
  • Graduate students enrolled in 9 semester hours.
  • Students enrolled in 6 summer semester hours.

Services
Student Legal Services provides students with a full range of typical legal services, including advice and consultation, drafting of letters and legal documents, conferences and settlement negotiations with adverse parties, legal research, review and interpretation of legal documents, drafting and filing of legal documents, and some representation in court. Notary services are also available.

Student Legal Services provides in court representation in:

  • Adoption (uncontested, step-parent adoptions)
  • Dissolution of Marriage (uncontested cases, without children or real property)
  • Landlord-Tenant Cases
  • Name Change
  • Sealing or Expunction of Criminal Records

Student Legal Services provides advice and assistance in:

  • Consumer matters such as: defective products and services, warranties, contracts, credit, identify theft
  • Property Damage
  • Insurance
  • Traffic Citations
  • Criminal Traffic
  • Criminal Charges
  • Preparation of Affidavits
  • Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills

Cases that are not covered by Student Legal Services:

  • Admiralty
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Activity of Student
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Incorporations and Partner-ships
  • Income Tax
  • Patent, Trademark, Copyright
  • Personal injury
  • Real Estate
  • Wills and Trusts

Criminal Traffic Clinic

In order to serve students more efficiently and effectively, Student Legal Services offers a walk-in service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the fall and spring semesters. Any full-time UF student who has received a criminal or traffic citation, or has been arrested for a misdemeanor or 3rd degree felony can meet one-on-one with an attorney to discuss his/her case.

Please Note:

  • Bring your Citation, Summons or Notice to appear with you. Without documentation, you cannot meet with an attorney.
  • Fill out the client information form, accessible at the top of this page. Write CLINIC at the end of the Statement of Facts section on the form.
  • If you have been assigned a public defender or have hired a private attorney, Student Legal Services cannot help you.
  • Assistance with traffic problems is limited to advice regarding traffic infraction(s) only. Property damage issues associated with the traffic citation must be addressed in a scheduled appointment.
    Students cannot receive assistance with expunging or sealing criminal records during clinic.

Student Legal Services is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and located at 3500 J. Wayne Reitz Union.