Should I Allow my Underage Child to Drink?

Many parents of teenagers struggle with the question of whether it would be better to allow their child to drink “responsibly” at home under parental supervision than to let them go out, believing their child will be drinking anyway.  The intentions are understandable.  You want to keep your child safe.  However, you should really consider the consequences of your decision. If you allow your child to drink in your home, your child could perceive this as tacit approval for all underage drinking.   Underage drinking is a very dangerous activity for an adolescent to pursue.  According to the Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) website, compared to teens who don’t drink, drinking teens are more likely to:

  • Die in a car crash
  • Get pregnant
  • Flunk school
  • Be sexually assaulted
  • Become an alcoholic later in life
  • Take their own life through suicide

Underage drinking also has serious legal implications.  Illinois, along with all 50 states, have zero tolerance laws for drinking and driving.  In Illinois, if a person under the age of 21 is caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in his/her system, driving privileges are revoked.  Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Law also prohibits consumption and possession even while not driving.  Jail time and fines are possibilities. Furthermore, under the Zero Tolerance Law, if great bodily harm or death results from knowingly allowing underage drinking in your home, you may face a Class 4 Felony.    This could mean imprisonment of 1-3 years and a fine of up to $25,000.  So while you may think that you are protecting your child and your child’s friends by supervising their drinking activities, you are actually opening yourself up to liability. If you or someone in your family has violated the Zero Tolerance Law, you will need an experienced attorney to assist you.  Contact a qualified Illinois defense attorney today.