What Are Common Alcohol-Related Charges for Those Under 21?
Underage drinking is all too common in today’s world. According to reports from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 58 percent of teens have had a drink by the time they reach the age of 18. This may be a result of high school parties in which alcohol is present or it may be attributed to moving away from home and going to college by the age of 18. Regardless of when it starts, binge drinking is extremely common between the ages of 12 and 20, forming bad habits before juveniles even reach the legal drinking age. Those individuals under the age of 21 often fail to recognize the ramifications that underage drinking can have on their future and their criminal record. Criminal charges may include alcohol consumption, but there are also a number of offenses that do not require any alcohol to be consumed.
False Identification and Purchasing Alcohol
These are two separate alcohol charges that are often tied together in Illinois. Many young adults may use an older sibling’s ID or have one made that states that they are 21 years old. This can allow those under the age of 21 to enter bars or purchase alcoholic drinks. Although more common with college students, high school students have also been known to use this tactic to obtain alcohol without their parents’ knowledge. Having a fake ID or lending your ID to someone underage is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and one year in jail. Purchasing the alcohol in itself is a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum $500 fine. In other words, having a fake ID can often lead to additional criminal charges.
The Possession of Alcohol
The consumption of alcohol is not required for young adults to face alcohol-related charges in Illinois. If those under the age of 21 are found with alcoholic beverages in their possession, they may have their driving privileges suspended for up to one year. This is also true for any minors found transporting alcohol in their vehicles. They will automatically lose their license for one year and may face a $1,000 fine. This charge applies to anyone in the vehicle who is underage, not just the driver.
Driving Under the Influence
The most serious alcohol charge that individuals can face is driving under the influence (DUI). For those over the age of 21, the blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08 percent in Illinois; however, underage drivers do not have this same leeway. If a driver under the age of 21 has any alcohol in his or her system, he or she can be convicted of a DUI. A first offense is a three-month suspension of his or her driver’s license and a second offense is a one-year suspension. These drivers are required to take an alcohol test, also known as a breathalyzer test if asked. If they refuse, their driver’s license suspension time doubles.
Call a DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Having a criminal record before turning 21 can lead to a long history of further offenses. Serious charges on your record can affect your admission to college and future employment. At the Davi Law Group, we understand that underage alcohol charges are often a result of peer pressure and ignorance of the law. We believe that all minors should have a second chance and be able to leave their past behind them. If your child is facing alcohol charges as a minor, contact our qualified and dedicated Wheaton, IL juvenile offense attorneys at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free consultation.