Unfortunately, minors often commit crimes without understanding how seriously they can affect their future. Underage drinking and related crimes, like driving under the influence as a minor, are among the most common offenses. When a minor consumes or even possesses alcohol, they can have their driver’s license suspended regardless of whether they were using a vehicle at the time.
Illinois law is especially strict with underage drinking and even more so with underage drinking and driving. The Zero Tolerance Law makes this clear. There are exceptions, however, as when the individual drinks alcohol during a religious ceremony or at home under the supervision of his or her parents.
Sometimes underage drinking charge come in conjunction with other charges. If you or your child has also been charged with possession of a fake ID, this a serious crime with serious consequences. You can find out more on our Possession/Use of A Fake ID page. If you or your child has been charged with both underaged drinking and possession of a fictitious identification, we urge you to get in touch with us immediately. This combination of charges has the power to severely damage a minor’s future.
Possession of alcohol by a minor is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. Upon conviction, it is possible to substitute a prison sentence with court supervision. Apart from mandatory drug testing, court supervision also requires a minimum 6 month revocation of driving privileges. In some cases, the individual’s driver’s license can be suspended for life.
For an underage DUI conviction, the penalties include up to 1 year in jail, $2,500 in fines, and at least a 2 year suspension of your driver’s license. For a second conviction, the minimum suspension time is raised to 5 years. In the case of an aggravated DUI conviction, for example when the impaired underaged driver causes injury to another driver, the charge is a felony and can carry extreme consequences including up to life in prison.
On the other hand, unlawful sale or delivery of alcohol to a minor is also a Class A misdemeanor and also carries up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
There are few tactics a lawyer can use in the case of underage drinking or possession of alcohol by a minor. Each case is different, especially because minors are charged differently than adults. Regardless of the details of your case, it is crucial that you explain them to an attorney as soon as possible.
Kerr & Schmiege are nationally recognized criminal defense lawyers for DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. An aggressive legal defense is the best method to ensuring the charges are lessened or completely dropped. Failing these circumstances, a qualified legal defense can also fight to have a sentence minimized upon conviction. Contact our law offices immediately to protect your future and rights to the fullest extent of the law.
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