Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
Illinois law (235 ILCS 5/6-20 - Illinois Liquor Control Act) prohibits the possession or consumption of alcohol by individuals under 21 years of age in a motor vehicle. The criminal defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. regularly represent clients charged with offenses associated with Illinois’ zero tolerance law and underage drinking, which is most often charged as 'Possession of Alcohol by a Minor'. Our attorneys have a vast knowledge of this particular law and a great deal of experience defending these cases.
Possession of alcohol by a minor can occur in one of two ways. A person can be charged with actual possession or constructive possession. Constructive possession can occur even if you are not physically holding the alcohol, but instead, have the ability and intent to possess the alcohol. Typically, this will occur where the alcohol is in the immediate vicinity of the minor (i.e. in the passenger compartment of a vehicle where the minor is present or in the same room as the minor).
The law does not prohibit the possession or consumption of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age if it is in the performance of a religious ceremony or if it is under the direct supervision and approval of their parents in the privacy of their home.Penalties for Underage Possession of Alcohol
In Illinois, Possession of Alcohol by a Minor is a serious offense with significant driver’s license consequences. Drinking, possessing or purchasing alcohol in a public place or in a place open to the public while under the age of 21 may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Therefore, this offense is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to one-year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 plus mandatory court costs. These offenses may also be charged as local ordinance violations.
In addition, a driver’s license suspension may be imposed by the Illinois Secretary of State if the underage person was in a motor vehicle at the time of offense. It is important to note that a sentence of Court Supervision for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor will still result in a minimum three-month driver’s license suspension if the offense occurred in a motor vehicle. A first conviction will result in a 6-month license suspension and a second conviction will result in a 12-month license suspension. A third conviction will result in a license revocation. Along with these penalties, a charge of Possession of Alcohol by a Minor can result in a criminal record, high fines, court costs, and increased insurance rates.Contact Our Defense Attorneys
Because of the potential consequences, it is important to retain an experienced attorney. The attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. will work to minimize or entirely avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor, including high court fines and driver's license consequences.
If you or a loved one is charged with Possession of Alcohol by a Minor, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced defense attorney that also has the knowledge in protecting and/or recovering driving privileges. The attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. provide high quality legal representation to clients facing underage drinking charges throughout Illinois and the Chicago Area including Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Contact us today to discuss your case.