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Archive for the ‘Underage Drinking’ Category

Minors Caught With Alcohol in Illinois

August 21st, 2017 at 7:15 am

legal drinking age, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers, unlawful consumption of alcohol, minors caught with alcohol, underage drinkingThe legal drinking age in Illinois, and throughout the United States, is 21. However, it is also illegal for those under 21 to even just possess alcohol in Illinois. Unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor and unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor are related, yet distinct, crimes in Illinois.

Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

Under Illinois’ Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/1 et seq.) it is illegal for an individual who is under 21 years of age to possess alcohol. But what does it mean, in a legal sense, to “possess” something?

In this case, alcohol can be possessed either physically or constructively. Physical possession essentially means holding a container with alcohol in it. Constructive possession, on the other hand, means that you have both the intent as well as the ability to control the alcohol.

Therefore, if you have a six-pack of beer in the trunk of your car, a court would likely find that you have constructive possession of the alcohol.

Unlawful Possession Penalties

Unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, up to 364 days in jail, and/or a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.

Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor

In Illinois it is also illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Please keep in mind that it is therefore technically illegal for an underage person to have even a sip of alcohol.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that this law prohibits those who are underage from being drunk or from having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. However, this is not the case. Remember, in Illinois, it is illegal for an underage individual to consume any amount of alcohol.

Unlawful Consumption Penalties

Unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois that is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, up to 364 days in jail, and/or a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.

Exceptions

It should be noted that there are two limited exceptions to the underage alcohol laws outlined above. Under code section 235 ILCS 5/6-20(g), people under 21 years of age can legally possess and/or consume alcohol in Illinois either (1) during the performance of a religious service or ceremony, or (2) while in a private home under the direct supervision of their parent (or a person standing in loco parentis).

Let Us Assist You Today

If your child has been charged with unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor in Illinois, the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are here to help. Our firm defends both minors and juveniles against a wide variety of alcohol related offenses and would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1404&ChapterID=26

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