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Posted on in Juvenile Offenders

wheaton defense lawyerWhen college students are on their own for the first time, they have opportunities to learn about creative ideas, meet new people, understand different cultures, and, more than likely, experiment with alcohol. If you are a young adult or you have a child leaving for college this fall, it is important to understand the laws in Illinois regarding underage drinking

Underage Drinking Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, underage drinking is considered a status offense, meaning the act is against the law because you are not old enough to do it. To buy alcohol, you must be 21 years old. However, state laws prohibiting underage drinking differ for those under the age of 18 and those over the age of 18 but not yet 21. 

Under Illinois state law, here are the circumstances in which you could be charged with underage drinking as a minor:

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DuPage County juvenile defense attorneyTeens cannot vote or buy cigarettes, and until they turn 18, they cannot enlist in the armed forces. Yet there are crimes they can commit that will send them into the adult court system. If convicted, they face a future with a criminal record, which drastically reduces their opportunities for housing and employment. In short, their lives forever changed. Could this happen to your teen? If you believe there is even the slightest possible chance that your juvenile offender could face this fate, the following information will help you understand how to proceed.

The History of the Juvenile Justice System in Illinois

At one time, teens as young as 15 could be automatically referred to adult court – and not just in Illinois. Many states were uncertain of how to handle teen offenders, and they reasoned that harsher penalties would keep crime rates down. Unfortunately, no one accounted for recidivism rates, which began to drastically increase among teens who had been tried as adults. Then the studies started to pour in. Many indicated teens, who are still mentally and emotionally developing, would be best served through a rehabilitation program.

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