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When Minors Get in Trouble With Alcohol, You Need an Illinois Juvenile Offenses Lawyer

May 11th, 2016 at 10:29 am

minors with alcohol, juvenile offenses, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyYoung people are often curious about alcohol, and sometimes their curiosity can land them into trouble. Rather than wait until they reach the legal age of 21 to buy, possess, and consume alcohol, juveniles find ways to gain access to alcohol, in violation of the law. Minors do not always understand the risks that they are taking, as well as the potential consequences of possessing, consuming, or trying to purchase alcohol when underage.

As a general rule, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Illinois. A minor who is caught violating the law can face being charged with a Class A misdemeanor along with the suspension of his or her driver’s license.

License suspensions can last for three months when a minor is issued court supervision, six months when the convicted minor is a first time offender, and up to a year for a second conviction. Any third or subsequent conviction for a minor in possession or consumption of alcohol will result in a revocation of the minor’s driver’s license.  

Minor in Possession

Many teens and their concerned family members are sometimes surprised when a minor is charged with possession in Illinois—the minor may not have been physically holding or physically in possession of the alcohol in question. The alcohol might be in a backpack or car trunk, or might have even been sitting on a table near the minor when a party was broken up by the police. However, possession exists in two forms: actual possession and constructive possession.

Actual possession is what many people understand as physically holding the alcohol in your hand or on your person (i.e., a bottle of alcohol in your pocket). Actual possession makes sense to a lot of people—if you are holding an alcoholic beverage, you are clearly in possession of it. Yet, many people have trouble understanding constructive possession.

Constructive possession is based on the possessor’s intent to remain in control or possession of the alcohol, even if he or she is not physically in possession of it at the moment. A case of beer could be in your trunk, or you could have set down your alcoholic beverage nearby, but you would still be considered to have constructive possession of the alcohol.

Is There Any Scenario Where Minors Can Have Alcohol?

There are limited exceptions to the law when minors can have access to alcohol. These limited exceptions include the following:

  • Minors can have alcohol if it is with their parent’s consent and supervision while in the privacy of their home;
  • Minors can have access to alcohol if the alcohol is part of a religious ceremony; and
  • Minors who are 18 years old or older, but are under the age of 21, can have access to alcohol if it is part of an educational course.

Let Us Represent Your Child

Underaged minors get into to trouble with alcohol all of the time, and it is unfortunate. The conviction of a minor in possession of alcohol could seriously impact your child’s future, and it is important to diligently fight the charges against you child. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately at our office. We will help your child throughout his or her case.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-20

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-20

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