What is Under Age Consumption of Alcohol? What happens if I am charged with Under Age Consumption of Alcohol?
Under Age Consumption of Alcohol boiled down to basic terms is, Consumption of an alcoholic beverage by any one who is under the age of 21.
Typical Situation where a person receives an Under Age Consumption Ticket:
The police show up to a party and there are a bunch of teenagers drinking. The police usually bring a portable breathalyzer and ask each person to blow into it. If they blow a 0.00, they are free to leave, if they blow anything above 0.00, they receive a under age consumption by a minor ticket.
Possible Consequences of an Under Age Consumption Charge:
In Illinois, Under Age Consumption of Alcohol is far more serious than a simple ticket. Although a court is unlikely to sentence you to jail, (it has the ability to as it charge is often a Class A misdemeanor) most under age consumption tickets are written a ordnance violations, which is only punishable by a fine. This is equally as serious as pleading guilty will be placing a alcohol disposition on your background. This will have to be disclosed to a college, graduate school, or when seeking a professional license, (license to practice law, medicine).
Additionally, pleading guilty to the under age consumption charge may also cause your Illinois driver’s license to be suspended as there is a 3-month license suspension if you receive court supervision and a 12-month license suspension f you are convicted of Under Age Consumption of Alcohol statute.
Defending an Under Age Consumption of Alcohol Charge:
As an attorney I have either had the charge dismissed, (not supervision) or have taken the cases to trial and my client was found not guilty.
Exceptions which allow a minor to consume alcohol:
There are some instances where the Illinois State Statute does not prohibit Under Age Consumption of Alcohol, these include: If you are drinking for a religious ceremony, if your are 18 years of age or older but younger than 21, and you are enrolled in a culinary arts, fermentation science, food service, or restaurant management degree program at an accredited college or university.
You have to be instructed by a professional who is 21 years of age or older, and the alcohol consumption has to be for teaching purposes and not to over exceed over 6 tastes in a class period.
Any amount of alcohol while driving can lead to a DUI:
Illinois Under Age Consumption of Alcohol also has greater effects if the individual is driving after consuming the alcohol.
Illinois is a zero-tolerance state. If a chemical test determines that an underage driver has a Blood Alcohol content (BAC) above 00.00%, the driver can be cited for DUI.
Illinois Under Age Consumption of Alcohol Statute: 235 ILCS 5/6-20