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Archive for the ‘DUI/DWI’ Category

What You Need to Know About Underage DUIs in Illinois

December 12th, 2017 at 8:10 am

Rolling Meadows DUI attorney, underage drinking, underage DUI, zero tolerance policy, driving privilegesWe all know that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Yet did you know that drivers who are under 21 years of age can get in trouble for driving under the influence if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system? This is because Illinois has what is known as a zero tolerance driving under the influence policy.

Illinois’ Zero Tolerance Policy

As noted on the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State’s website, a driver who is less than 21 years old and is caught with even a trace amount of alcohol in his or her system can get into a lot of trouble under Illinois’ zero tolerance law. Exactly how much trouble a young driver can get in depends on how much alcohol they are found to have consumed before getting behind the wheel. For example, a person who is under 21 can be charged with a DUI (aka driving under the influence) if he or she is caught with:

  • A BAC of 0.08 percent or more,
  • A BAC of 0.05 percent or more plus additional evidence proving impairment,
  • Any illegal drugs in their system, or
  • Other indications of having been driving while under the influence.

Furthermore, Illinois’ zero tolerance law provides that a driver who is under 21 will lose his or her driving privileges if he or she is caught driving after having consumed any alcohol at all. Underage individuals who get caught driving with alcohol in their system in Illinois lose their driving privileges as follows:

  • If convicted of a first DUI – driving privileges revoked for at least two years.
  • If convicted of a second DUI within five years – driving privileges revoked for at least five years.
  • If stopped and issued a ticket for a traffic violation (first offense) – driving privileges suspended for three months.
  • If stopped and issued a ticket for a traffic violation (second offense) – driving privileges suspended for one year.

The Consequences of Underage DUIs in Illinois

In addition to losing their driving privileges for a specified period of time, underage individuals convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois can be sentenced to serve time in jail (generally imprisonment for up to one year) and/or be ordered to pay a fine (typically up to $2,500). Furthermore, those convicted of driving under the influence often find that the consequences of a DUI conviction extend far beyond the penalties imposed by the court. For example, many people find that after being convicted their insurance provider decides to terminate their auto insurance policy.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Rolling Meadows DUI Attorney

Anyone who has recently been charged with driving under the influence in Illinois should contact an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI attorney Christopher M. Cosley without delay. It is important to realize that driving under the influence, whether you are over or under 21, is a serious criminal offense in Illinois that can carry steep fines and serious jail time. Therefore, if you have been accused of driving under the influence it is critical that you consult with a local criminal defense lawyer about your legal options right away.

Source:

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/DUI/uselose.html

Understanding the Ramifications of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois

October 23rd, 2017 at 6:21 am

breathalyzer test, DUI charge, DUI conviction, DUI defense, Rolling Meadows DUI attorneyIf you or a family member is pulled over, should you consent to taking a breathalyzer test? This is a common question and, in truth, the answer is—it depends. This is because each case is different and your circumstances may have presented a scenario where refusing a Breathalyzer test was appropriate, or vice versa.

Under Illinois Law, when you obtain a driver’s license you are impliedly consenting to take a Breathalyzer test if you are requested by a police officer to do so. This implied consent is codified in state statute 625 ILCS 40/5-7.1.

Even with the existence of an implied consent law, you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test, but the ramifications can be quite severe. For example, if you are convicted of a DUI and you refused to take a breathalyzer test, then your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year.

Warning Required

When a police officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, they are legally obligated to inform you that refusing to take the test may result in the aforementioned suspension of your driver’s license.

The suspension of your driver’s license can go beyond one year, depending whether you have a criminal record and/or a prior DUI conviction.

Why Some People Opt to Decline the Breathalyzer Test

There is a belief that if you refuse a breathalyzer test, it will improve your chances of prevailing against the government’s DUI charge. This is not a sound legal strategy. Yes, the lack of an official breathalyzer result may make it more challenging for the prosecution to obtain a conviction, but it does not guarantee your victory in court. This is because the government can prove a DUI through a variety of methods, even without a breathalyzer result.

For example, the police officer who pulled you over could testify in court concerning your driving behavior and physical appearance when you were pulled over. If you underwent a field sobriety test, the results of that test are generally admissible as evidence. Also, there may be video footage from the police officer’s squad car which could potentially reveal that you were intoxicated. Some, or all, of these tests and other evidence could be considered sufficient by a jury to find you guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney Today

Whether you agreed to take a breathalyzer test or not, you have the right to quality legal representation. That is why it makes sense to contact a passionate Rolling Meadows DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are eager to assist you immediately.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500400K5-7.1

Strategies for Prevailing in Your DUI Case

October 20th, 2017 at 11:50 am

DUI case, DUI convictions, DUI offenses, Rolling Meadows criminal law attorneys, DUI defenseGetting convicted of a DUI carries significant ramifications that may adversely affect you for years. A DUI conviction is typically a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you could be ordered to serve up to one year in jail. You could also be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500 with a mandatory minimum fine of $500. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. And this is all for a first-time offender.

If you have prior DUI convictions on your record, the penalties are even more severe. For example, if this is your third DUI conviction, the charge escalates to a Class 2 felony which means you could be ordered to spend between three and seven years in jail. Also, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 10 years.

Ways to Prevail Against the Government

If you are charged with a DUI, do not presume that you are going to be found guilty. There are many ways to challenge a DUI charge. For example, your Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney can investigate whether the police officer who pulled you over followed all proper and necessary protocols and procedures when handling your charges.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from being subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure. Hence, a police officer cannot engage in an invasive search of your person or vehicle for no good reason.

In addition, a police officer must have probable cause to pull over your vehicle. Therefore, if you were operating your vehicle in a reasonable manner, traveling at the posted speed limit, and the officer just randomly pulled you over, the arrest and subsequent charge could be challenged due to a lack of reasonable suspicion.

Another way to prevail in court is to challenge the veracity of the evidence the government claims to have against you. This may include impeaching the police officer’s credibility, contesting whether you were even the driver in the vehicle, or emphasizing the fact that you took a field sobriety test and passed.

Are these strategies guaranteed to work? No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a case. Nevertheless, these strategies highlight the fact that you have ways to take on the government’s charges and prevail in court.

Speak to a Rolling Meadows DUI Defense Attorney Right Away

One of the best ways to enhance your chances of succeeding in court is by contacting a DUI defense lawyer right away. The dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal law attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are ready and able to help. We have extensive experience representing people charged with DUI offenses. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential case review.

Source:

http://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/drnkdriving.cfm

Can a Sleeping Driver be Arrested for DUI in Illinois?

September 27th, 2017 at 7:26 pm

DUI arrest, DUI charge, Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer, sleeping driver, DUI defenseWe all know that driving under the influence is illegal, but is it illegal to sleep one off in your car? You may be surprised to learn that, in Illinois, the answer is yes, under some circumstances.

Under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a), it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in Illinois while under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating compound to a degree that you are not capable of driving safely. Therefore, if a court of law determines that an individual had actual physical control of the vehicle that they were sleeping in while intoxicated then that person can rightfully be convicted of driving under the influence in Illinois.

What Does it Mean to Have “Actual Physical Control” of a Vehicle?

Having “actual physical control” of a vehicle essentially means having the ability to operate the vehicle. Illinois case law notes that a person does not need to move, or even have the intent to move, a vehicle to have actual physical control.

Relevant case law also indicates that there are several factors that courts in Illinois should take into account when determining whether or not an individual charged with a DUI had actual physical control of their vehicle.

Key factors include whether the individual:

  • Had the vehicle’s ignition key,
  • Was physically capable of operating the vehicle, and
  • Was sitting in the driver’s seat.

Please note that this list of factors is non-exhaustive and that the court will examine the totality of the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether or not the individual charged with driving under the influence did in fact have actual physical control of the vehicle.

How Can I Avoid a DUI Charge While Parked?

The best way to avoid a DUI charge while parked is to simply not sit in your parked car while intoxicated. Ask a sober driver to give you a lift, take a cab, or walk home. However, if you have no other option but to sleep or wait in your car, do whatever you can to show that you do not have actual physical control of the vehicle. For example, it is probably a good idea to put the car’s ignition key in the glove box and sit or lie down in the backseat.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been accused of driving under the influence in Illinois, The Law Offices of Christopher Cosley is here to help. Attorney Christopher Cosley is an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer who handles all types of DUI cases in Rolling Meadows and throughout the greater Chicago area. Being convicted of driving under the influence can hugely impact your life, so it is important that you take steps today to protect your future. Start by hiring a tenacious DUI defense lawyer to argue your case.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

Hit and Run Accidents in Illinois

September 25th, 2017 at 7:47 pm

hit and run accidents, property damage, accident scene, car accident, traffic offensesAccording to the Daily Herald, the Illinois State Police are searching for a semi truck driver who fled after hitting a 48-year-old tollway maintenance worker recently. The victim was picking up trash on the shoulder of the southbound Tri-State Tollway when the trucker allegedly hit him and sideswiped his parked vehicle. The driver did not stop and, sadly, the worker passed away from his injuries.

Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in Illinois and if the driver is found by the authorities, then he or she will undoubtedly find himself or herself in a world of legal trouble.

Fleeing the Scene of an Accident

Under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-401 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, any driver who is involved in a motor vehicle accident involving personal injuries or death is legally obligated to immediately stop his or her vehicle.

Drivers are required to remain at the scene of the accident until they have fulfilled the exchange of information and rendering aid requirements outlined in code section 625 ILCS 5/11-403. Any driver who fails to abide by these requirements because they fled the scene of the accident is guilty of a “hit and run.”

Additionally, it should be noted that that is also illegal to flee the scene of an accident that results only in property damage. In other words, even if no one was injured in the accident you are still generally required to stay at the scene of the accident if the accident caused property damage. For example, code section 625 ILCS 5/11-402 states that any driver involved in an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle which is attended must immediately pull over and exchange information.

Penalties

Anyone who is arrested for a hit and run in Illinois which resulted in personal injuries or death can be subjected to chemical testing for drugs and/or alcohol and can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of up to $25,000.

However, a hit and run offender can instead by charged with a Class 2 felony (which is punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine of up to $25,000) if aggravating circumstances are present, or a Class 1 felony (punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000) if the hit and run resulted in the death of another person.

Additionally, anyone who flees the scene of an accident that resulted only in property damage to an attended vehicle can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Charged With a Traffic Offense? Contact a Local Traffic Violations Defense Lawyer

Attorney Christopher Cosley, sole attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, is a well respected Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense attorney who has extensive experience defending clients charged with hit and runs, as well as a wide variety of other traffic offenses. Contact our office today for assistance.

Source:

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20170918/tollway-worker-killed-in-hit-and-run-crash-along-the-tri-state

DUI Testing in Illinois

September 11th, 2017 at 9:53 am

breathalyzer test, DUI testing, field sobriety tests, local DUI attorney, Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorneyWhen a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Illinois, he or she will likely ask to see your license and registration, ask if you have been drinking, and, if he or she still suspects that you are intoxicated, administer one or more of the field sobriety tests described below.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are simple tests that police officers administer on the side of the road after pulling a driver over in order to predict blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 and above. Approved standardized field sobriety tests in Illinois include:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: To administer this test the officer asks the driver to follow the tip of his or her pen or finger with only his or her eyes. During this test the officer is looking to see whether the driver is experiencing nystagmus, an involuntary jerking of the eye that is magnified when a person consumes alcohol or certain other drugs.
  • The Walk-and-Turn: During this test the officer asks the driver to walk in a straight line by placing one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, heel to toe, and so forth nine times, turn, and walk back on the line in the same manner. All steps are taken while keeping one’s arms at his or her sides.
  • The One-Legged Stand: Here the officer tells the driver to stand with one’s arms at his or her sides, raise one foot approximately six inches off the ground, and balance on one leg for 30 seconds.

Additionally, a police officer in Illinois can also administer a breathalyzer test on the side of the road in order to measure the amount of alcohol on a driver’s breath. A breathalyzer is a device that gives a very accurate estimate of the amount of alcohol present in the blood of the person who blows into it. However, it is important to note that the only way to actually test someone’s blood alcohol concentration is via a blood test, which police officers do not administer on the side of the road but do conduct at the station after arresting a driver for driving under the influence.

Drivers in Illinois implicitly consent to submitting to a breathalyzer test when asked to do so by virtue of driving in our state. Therefore, refusing a roadside breathalyzer test can carry steep consequences such as having your license suspended.

Accused of Driving Under the Influence? Contact a Local DUI Attorney

Any accusation of driving under the influence in Illinois should be taken very seriously as the penalties available for first-time DUI convictions can include up to one year of incarceration, a fine of up to $2,500, a license suspension of up to six months, and various other penalties as well. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley our experienced Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorneys are well aware of the huge toll that a DUI conviction can take on a person’s life. Therefore, we work tirelessly to provide excellent legal representation to each and every one of our clients.

Source:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

Are DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?

August 23rd, 2017 at 6:08 pm

drunk drivers, DUI cases, DUI checkpoints, reasonable suspicion, Rolling Meadows drunk driving lawyerA DUI checkpoint (also commonly referred to a sobriety checkpoint or a DUI roadblock) is a roadblock initiated by the police in order to stop every vehicle (or a subset of vehicles) in order to assess the sobriety of drivers passing through. These checkpoints are often set up at times when drunk driving is most prevalent (namely around the holidays and on weekends) and on streets that see a disproportionate number of drunk drivers.

The Constitutionality of DUI Checkpoints

Generally speaking, police officers in the United States are only allowed to pull a driver over if they have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has broken the law.

However, in the landmark case Michigan v. Sitz, the U.S. Supreme Court held that sobriety checkpoints where drivers are stopped without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing are in fact constitutional because the government’s interest in preventing drunk driving outweighs the inconvenience to the individuals who are stopped and that, therefore, DUI checkpoints are an exception to the search and seizure provision of the Fourth Amendment.

With that said, in order to be constitutional, DUI checkpoints must be conducted in a certain way. For example DUI checkpoints in Illinois must:

  • Have clear guidelines that are strictly adhered to by the law enforcement officers conducting the checkpoint,
  • Be clearly marked,
  • Be announced to the public beforehand,
  • Be conducted in a neutral and nonbiased manner, and
  • Not be used as a pretense for gathering evidence about another crime without a warrant.

Your Legal Rights

While encountering a DUI checkpoint can be stressful, even if you have not had a drop to drink, try your best to keep you wits about you and remember that your legal rights are still intact. For example, if you see a roadblock up ahead and you are able to safely and legally turn down a side street in order to avoid the inconvenience of stopping, then you are within your legal rights to do so.

However, keep in mind that police officers are often stationed on the side streets surrounding DUI checkpoints so this would be a bad time to break the rules of the road while attempting to avoid a DUI checkpoint.

Additionally, remember that you are not legally obligated to answer a police officer who asks if you have been drinking, although you are required to provide your license, registration, and insurance information when requested to do so.

Arrested for Driving Under the Influence? Contact a Local DUI Attorney

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we vigorously defend clients facing both first and multiple DUI offenses. Attorney Cosley has experience working as a prosecutor in the Felony and Drug Division of the Illinois state courts and is therefore intimately familiar with the techniques used by prosecutors in DUI cases and is uniquely qualified to defend those accused of driving under the influence.

If you are looking for an exceptionally well qualified Rolling Meadows drunk driving lawyer to protect your legal interests after being accused of driving under the influence, contact us today for help.

Source:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/reasonable_suspicion

If I’m Convicted of a DUI in Illinois Will I Lose My License?

July 28th, 2017 at 7:35 am

DUI conviction, DUI in Illinois, DUI offenses, lose my license, Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyersIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois your driver’s license may be suspended, revoked, or placed under supervision. However, the fact that you have been convicted of a DUI does not necessarily mean that that your driving privileges will be curtailed. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI.

Before we examine some situations under which driving privileges are often limited in connection with DUIs, let us briefly discuss the difference between a revoked license, a suspended license, and a supervised license in Illinois.

While there are a variety of technical differences between a revoked and a suspended license, the key difference is that a suspension has an end date while a revocation is permanent. A suspended license can be reinstated after a certain amount of time has passed and a hearing officer from the Secretary of State has confirmed that all stipulated requirements have been satisfied. However, a revoked driver’s license can not be reinstated (although the driver can usually apply for a new license after some time has passed). Furthermore, a license suspension is often temporary and will be lifted as soon as the driver successfully jumps through specified hoops (for example, paying fines, maintaining a clean driving record, completing alcohol classes etc.).

Under Illinois law, a first-time driving under the influence offender is generally eligible to have his or her license placed under supervision for a specified period of time. However, the court also has the option of suspending the violator’s license (generally for at least one year) instead of placing the license under supervision. Further, the Illinois Secretary of State can revoke the driver’s license if they are convicted for violating section 6-205 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, i.e. driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination thereof, according to the following timetable:

  • First DUI Conviction: Revocation for up to one year.
  • Two DUI Convictions Within 20 Years: Revocation for up to five years.
  • Three DUI Convictions: Revocation for up to 10 years.
  • Four DUI Convictions: Revocation for life.

Additionally, it should be noted that your driving privileges can be impacted in Illinois even if you have not actually been convicted of driving under the influence. Under some circumstances, simply being under suspicion of having committed a DUI is sufficient to have your license suspended. For example, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended if you are pulled over by a police officer who determines that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or greater and you refuse testing.

Let Us Help You Today

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our dedicated Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyers are committed to providing exceptional representation to each and every one of our clients. Whether you have been charged with driving under the influence and are in need of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court or are seeking legal counsel to help you regain your driving privileges, we would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-205

Aggravated DUIs in Illinois

July 24th, 2017 at 7:05 am

aggravated DUIs, DUI convictions, DUI defendants, DUI violation, Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyersAll driving under the influence (DUI) convictions are serious offenses. But, in the eyes of the law, an offender who is caught driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol under certain extreme circumstances is seen as being as being more morally culpable than others, and can therefore be charged with the elevated offense of aggravated driving under the influence (also referred to as felony DUI).

Each state defines aggravated driving under the influence a bit differently. However, here in Illinois, felony driving under the influence is codified under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501 and, in a nutshell, states that an individual commits an aggravated DUI when he or she is in actual physical control of a vehicle in Illinois while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or a combination thereof, and any of the following aggravating factors were present:

  • This is the offender’s third or more DUI offense;
  • The offender was driving a school bus with at least one passenger aboard;
  • The offender was involved in an accident resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was previously convicted of reckless homicide while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds;
  • The offender was driving in a 20 mph school zone and was involved in an accident resulting in bodily harm (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was involved in a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, or watercraft accident resulting in the death of another (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender was driving with a revoked or suspended license;
  • The offender did not possess a driver’s license or permit;
  • The offender knew, or should have known, that the vehicle they were operating was not covered by a liability insurance policy;
  • The offender was in an accident while transporting a child under the age of 16 who sustained bodily harm (when driving under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury);
  • The offender has at least one prior DUI violation and was transporting a child under the age of 16; or
  • The offender was transporting at least one passenger in a vehicle for hire.

Common Defenses

In order to be convicted of aggravated driving under the influence in Illinois the prosecution must be able to prove that you (1) violated IL’s driving under the influence statute and (2) did so while one or more of the aggravating factors outlined above were present. Therefore, depending on the facts of your particular case of your case, you may be able to assert one or more of the following commonly asserted defenses:

  • The arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop me;
  • The field sobriety test(s) administered in my case were in some way defective or improperly administered;
  • The arresting officer violated my Miranda Rights;
  • My blood alcohol concentration was rising at the time of my arrest and was actually below the legal limit while I was driving; or
  • None of the aggravating factors listed under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-501 were present at the time of my alleged DUI.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local DUI Lawyer

Although DUI defendants are not legally required to retain legal representation, hiring a competent driving under the influence attorney to defend your legal rights is highly recommended, especially if you are facing an aggravated DUI. Here at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI lawyers, led by former lead prosecutor in the DUI division of the IL state courts Chris Cosley, assist clients charged with driving under the influence throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.htm

The Ramifications of Illinois Minor in Possession Charges

July 12th, 2017 at 7:00 am

Class A misdemeanor, juvenile crimes, minor in possession, Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney, underage drinkingFor good or ill, underage drinking is a rite of passage for many young people, though it often leads to legal trouble for those involved.  While such issues are commonly seen as youthful peccadilloes, in reality an underage drinking issue can affect a young adult’s future in a significant manner.

If a parent or authority figure becomes aware of minor in possession charges entered against a son, daughter or ward, it is incumbent upon both them and the young adult to become aware of the potential consequences if convicted of such a charge.

Restrictions & Exceptions

Illinois has very strict regulations regarding minors caught with alcohol. Generally, if one is under the age of 21, it is illegal to either possess or consume alcohol. If they are observed doing so in public or in ‘a place open to the public,’ they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious class of non-felony offense, and under Illinois law it is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail (not prison—the distinction is fine but important to observe).  

The law does state that a minor may legally consume alcohol at home—thus, not in a public place —without repercussions if they have the approval and direct supervision of a parent (or anyone standing in those proverbial shoes).  Other exceptions do also exist under the relevant statute; however, they are few in number and quite rare to encounter or experience.

One, for example, is that minors may possess or consume alcohol as part of religious ceremonies. While this is a clear-cut exception, it is one that applies to a significant minority of young people caught indulging in alcohol. Most of the time, the absolutist logic of the statute itself will apply—if a minor is caught consuming or possessing alcohol in public, then he or she will almost always be charged with that Class A misdemeanor.

Alternatives to Jail Time

While the majority of defendants in minor possession cases will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, it does not mean that the majority will be convicted of such an offense. Judges also have considerable leeway to impose alternative sentences or add extra requirements that a convicted minor must fulfill. It is, however, required that the defendant be informed of the possible maximum sentence so as to ensure that any guilty plea is voluntary—if the defendant was not specifically informed and still pled guilty, receiving a sentence of jail time, it would open up the possibility of appeal based on lack of understanding of the potential consequences.

In terms of alternative sentences or additional penalties imposed, the most common choices are community service (as opposed to jail time) and court supervision or probation. Supervision in particular tends to be favored for first-time offenders, as successful completion of the supervision period without any further legal trouble leads to a dismissal of the charges and no permanent indication on the defendant’s criminal record.

Consult a Knowledgeable Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Very often, episodes of underage drinking are met with nostalgia or minimizing by friends and family. However, the law does not share such an indulgent view. The passionate Rolling Meadows juvenile crimes attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will fight for you and do our best to achieve a fair outcome. Contact our offices today to set up an initial appointment.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073000050K5-6-3.1

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