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Underage Drinking and Its Consequences

Posted on in Juvenile Law

underage drinking and driving in IllinoisMany minors fail to realize the devastating legal consequences associated with underage drinking in the state. Indeed, Illinois is one of the states that has zero tolerance for underage drinkers as well, which means that getting caught indulging can lead to serious, long-term repercussions.

Obtaining and Drinking Alcohol

One of the most common alcohol-related acts that result in criminal charges for minors in Illinois involves using fake IDs to purchase alcohol. In Illinois, it is illegal for a minor to buy, consume, possess, or receive alcohol, and being found to have done any of these is an automatic three-month suspension of one’s driving privileges. Transporting alcohol is also illegal, and anyone in the vehicle may incur a fine, with the driver being on the proverbial hook for at least one-year mandatory suspension.

It is important to note that anyone who hosts a gathering where minors have access to alcohol may also be guilty of a crime under Illinois’s new “social host” law. Violation of the law may lead to a minimum penalty of $500, with a maximum of $2,500 plus one year in jail. This law was recently passed, aiming to cut down on underage drinking by depriving minors of places to drink, with similar laws proving successful in other states.

Minors Drinking and Driving

While fines and suspension of driver’s licenses comprise the penalty for underage drinking or possession of alcohol, if a minor knowingly drives while under the influence, the consequences are far more severe. In Illinois, any discernible scent of alcohol or reading on a blood alcohol content meter (BAC test or breathalyzer) is “per se evidence of a violation.” In other words, if a law enforcement official has any reason to believe that you are driving with any alcohol in your system, you may be in suspicion of a crime. This can lead to a three-month suspension of your driving privileges.

If a minor is stopped and found to be driving under the influence by the adult definition - with a BAC level of at least .08 percent or refuses a breathalyzer test - the consequences are anywhere from six months’ suspension of a driver's license, up to a $2,500 fine, and up to one year in jail (plus revocation of the license for five years or until the age of 21, whichever is longer) if the person is convicted. The charges will be bumped up to felony level if significant bodily injury or death occurred.

Ask a Knowledgeable Attorney

While underage drinking may be common in Illinois, it can cause major problems, such as the suspension of your driver's license or even serious criminal convictions. In moments like this, you need a skilled DuPage County criminal defense attorney who can help guide you through the correct process. our firm has experience handling underage drinking cases, and we work hard to get the best result possible for your case. Call our Wheaton, IL office today at 630-871-1700 for a free consultation.

Source:

https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/Education/Pages/Under21Laws.aspx

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