Underage Drinking Charges in Illinois
Throughout the United States, it is illegal for individuals under age 21 to consume alcohol under most circumstances. When an individual under 21 is found to be in possession of alcohol, he or she can face an underage drinking charge. In Illinois, this charge is known as a minor in possession of alcohol charge. Minor in possession of alcohol charges are one of the types of cases our team of juvenile defense lawyers handles. The juvenile justice system is not the same as the adult criminal justice system, so it is important that you work with a lawyer who has experience in this specific legal area.
Penalties for Underage Drinking
In Illinois, underage drinking is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for an underage drinking conviction are:
- A fine of up to $2,500; and
- Up to one year in jail.
When underage drinking is charged alongside another offense, like driving drunk, an individual can face additional charges. In Illinois, the penalties for an underage driving under the influence (DUI) charge are a driver’s license suspension of three months to more than two years depending on the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of his or her arrest and a fine of up to $2,500.
Other alcohol-related charges minors can face are:
- Possession of a fake identification for the purpose of buying alcohol;
- Creation of fake ID documents for the purpose of buying alcohol;
- Transporting alcohol in a motor vehicle; and
- Providing a minor with alcohol.
Additionally, it is illegal for an individual over the age of 21 to provide minors with alcohol. This is also a Class A misdemeanor. When a victim suffers a serious injury or death because of an intoxicated minor’s actions, the adult who allowed the minor to consume alcohol in his or her home can face a Class 4 felony charge.
Defending your Child’s Case Against an Underage Drinking Charge
The right legal defense strategy for your child’s case depends on the circumstances of the case. If your child consumed alcohol legally as part of a religious ceremony or with your permission and supervision in your home, his or her defense strategy may involve proving this to the judge.
Other defense strategies include demonstrating that the evidence used to support the charge was obtained illegally and pointing to the lack of evidence linking him or her to the offense. Keep in mind that juveniles facing criminal charges have the same constitutional rights that adults facing charges have, such as the right to refuse to consent to searches of their vehicles and other private property and the right to be represented by a lawyer during interactions with law enforcement and the court.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Juvenile Defense Attorney
If your son or daughter is facing a minor in possession of alcohol charge, be proactive and start working on his or her legal defense strategy with an experienced Naperville juvenile defense attorney today. To get started with a member of our firm, contact Donahue & Sowa today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office.