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What Are Illinois’ Underage Drinking Laws?

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:

  • 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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