What Are Common Offenses Involving Underage Drinking in Illinois?

St. Charles underage drinking defense lawyer

Many people drink alcohol before reaching the legal age of 21. Some parents may let their teenagers try a sip of beer, or a person may have a drink at a party. While this can seem innocent in a safe environment, underage drinking can escalate and quickly become dangerous. Long-term effects of underage drinking include impaired cognitive and physical development, memory and learning problems, increased risk of abusing other substances, and alcohol dependence. Drinking under the age of 21 is a crime in and of itself, but it can also lead to various other crimes with serious consequences.

Juvenile Drinking Crimes

  1. Drinking underage: The first crime is the consumption of alcohol by those under the age of 21. If a law enforcement officer sees the possession, consumption, purchase, or receipt of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21, the legal consequence will be a three-month suspension of driving privileges for court supervision, six months for a first conviction, one year for a second conviction, and license revocation for subsequent convictions.

  2. Transportation of alcohol while underage: Some people may think that the law only applies to the consumption of alcohol by minors, but the transportation of alcohol is also illegal. This applies to every minor in the car, not just the driver. Everyone in the car can receive up to a $1,000 fine. The driver receives a harsher penalty of a mandatory driver’s license suspension for one year on the first offense and a year-long license revocation for additional offenses. 

  3. Fake IDs: Many young adults possess fake IDs, which they intend to use to purchase alcohol at stores or in bars. The consequences for false identification are taken very seriously across all 50 states. In Illinois, possession of a fake ID is a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in jail and fines up to $25,000. If you have been previously convicted of using false identification, the charge becomes a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and up to $25,000 in fines. Lending a driver's license or other ID to another person for the purpose of purchasing or consuming alcohol is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.

  4. DUIs: 0.0 percent is the blood alcohol content level allowed for underage drivers. Unlike those 21 and over, Illinois has a zero tolerance level for drinking and driving under the age of 21. First offenses will leave minors with a three-month suspension of driving privileges or a six-month suspension if the driver refuses alcohol testing. A second offense before the age of 21 will increase the suspension to one year with testing and two years with a refusal of testing.

Contact a Naperville Underage Drinking Defense Lawyer

Committing underage drinking crimes can result in a criminal record that can negatively impact a person's future opportunities. Because underage drinking has become so common, many minors suffer legal consequences as a result of their actions. At the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, we are dedicated to defending the rights of our clients, and we work to ensure that one decision does not ruin the rest of a child's life. If your child has been charged with a crime related to underage drinking, contact our experienced Illinois juvenile crime defense attorneys at 630-232-1780 for a free consultation.