The drinking age is 21 in the United States. However, this does not stop many teenagers and young adults from drinking before they are old enough to do so legally. Whether due to peer pressure, curiosity, or a desire to look “cool,” underage drinking is not uncommon.
If your child was caught with alcohol or charged with an alcohol-related offense, it is important to understand your rights and options under Illinois law.
Alcohol Possession by Minors is a Criminal Offense
In Illinois, underage people in possession of alcohol can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense. While jail time can often be avoided for a first-time offender, it is possible for an underage offender to face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 for alcohol possession. A teen or young adult caught with alcohol may also have his or her driver’s license suspended for six months for a first offense. If a young person uses a fake ID to buy alcohol, he or she may face additional criminal penalties for possession of a fraudulent ID.
If an underage person is accused of drunk driving, the stakes are even higher. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Having even a very low blood alcohol concentration can lead to driver’s license suspension and other penalties under the Illinois Zero Tolerance law. However, if an underage person’s BAC is above 0.08 percent, he or she faces the same penalties as over-21 offenders. This may include jail time, driver’s license revocation, mandatory alcohol education classes, and steep fines.
Helping Your Child After a DUI or Other Alcohol-Related Offense
No parent wants to receive a phone call from the police station informing them that their child was just arrested. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, remember that your child has the same rights as an adult offender, including the right to an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer experienced in juvenile criminal cases can answer your questions and help you navigate the juvenile justice system. Your lawyer can also help your child explore diversion programs and other options that may reduce the penalties he or she faces.
Contact Our Naperville Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Aurora criminal defense attorney Patricia Magaña defends teenagers and young adults who are charged with alcohol-related offenses. She can help you and your child navigate the legal system, present a strong defense against the charges, and seek to have the charges dropped or reduced if possible. Call Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC at 630-448-2001 today and set up your free initial consultation.