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UPDATE: What Are Illinois’ Underage Drinking Laws?

 Posted on September 12, 2022 in Juvenile Offenders

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_324467150-min.jpgOriginally published: August 4, 2021 -- Updated: September 12, 2022

Update: In addition to the potential criminal charges that may apply for minors who possess or drink alcohol, it is also important to understand that people under the age of 21 who drink and drive may be arrested for DUI. Charges related to drunk driving can have a long-lasting effect on a person's criminal record and their driver's license. For a minor who is facing charges for DUI, it is important to understand the specific laws in Illinois and how they may apply to a particular case. Illinois has a "zero tolerance" law that applies to underage drinking and driving. A person under the age of 21 may face consequences if they are found to have any alcohol in their system while driving. While the legal blood alcohol content limit of .08 percent will still apply, minors who are arrested for DUI may face a license suspension if a chemical test shows that they have any alcohol in their system. A BAC reading above .00 percent will result in a driver's license suspension of three months for a first offense and one year for a second offense. If an underage driver refuses to take a chemical BAC test after being arrested, their license will be suspended for six months for a first offense and two years for a second offense.

Criminal DUI charges will apply if an underage driver is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance or combination of substances that affected their ability to operate a vehicle safely. A chemical BAC test reading of .08 percent or more may result in a DUI conviction. Since a first-time DUI is a Class A misdemeanor offense, a person may be sentenced to up to one year in prison, and they may be fined up to $2,500. Underage drivers will also be subject to a two-year driver's license revocation, and they will not be eligible to have their driving privileges reinstated while using an ignition interlock device. After serving one year of their revocation, a person may be able to apply for a restricted driving permit. Underage drivers may also be required to participate in remedial education (traffic school), as well as the Youthful Intoxicated Driver's Visitation Program, which involves counseling and visits to view car accidents caused by drunk driving.

If you are facing charges for underage drinking and driving, it is important to speak with an experienced DuPage County underage DUI defense lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Stephen A. Brundage is a skilled criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling all types of DUI cases, including those involving underage drivers. Attorney Brundage understands the possible consequences of a DUI conviction, and he will work tirelessly to protect your rights and freedom. Contact our firm at 630-260-9647 to schedule a free consultation today.

When 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:

  • Buying, receiving, or possessing alcohol

  • Using a fake ID to alter your age so you can buy alcohol

  • Consuming alcohol 

Violating these laws could result in a Class A misdemeanor. However, there are exceptions to the law. If you are under 21, you can possess, dispense, and consume alcohol during a religious service (communion, for example) or while under the direct supervision of your parents.

If you are older than 18 but younger than 21, you can taste, but not imbibe, alcohol if you are a student attending a scheduled course and under the supervision of an instructor who is older than 21 during an educational program. The program, though, must be operated by an accredited school by the Department of Education or has state approval by the Board of Higher Education. 

The law gives some clarity on the difference between tasting and imbibing alcohol. During the class, you can taste alcohol up to six times per class, but no more, and the alcohol must remain in the possession of the instructor when the class ends. 

Those rules also apply to culinary schools, fermentation science, food service, or restaurant programs, which will lead to careers that involve the serving of alcohol to customers. Again, these programs must be approved by and based on methods by a governing. In this case, it’s the Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Server Education and Training.

Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Getting caught drinking while under the legal age could result in unwanted consequences. If you are charged with underage drinking, contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney for help. Get a free consultation by attorney Stephen A. Brundage. Call 630-260-9647.



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