Dennis Dwyer is a Bridgeview Attorney with offices in Bridgeview & Chicago.
The new Illinois law hopes to encourage underage drinkers to seek help when facing emergency situations. In the past, underage drinkers have delayed or avoided calling for help when a friend drank too much alcohol because they were afraid of getting in trouble. Nine alcohol induced deaths occurred in people under 21 in Illinois between the years 2008 and 2012. Thousands are treated every year for alcohol related emergencies. Providing amnesty to underage drinkers who seek out emergency help may increase the number of teens that get the help they need and prevent serious injury and death.
Illinois Underage Drinking Law
It is illegal in Illinois for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or drink alcohol. This is a Class A misdemeanor. Possible penalties included:
- Community service
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $2,500 fine ($500 minimum)
Illinois Underage DUI Laws
Illinois has a zero tolerance law for underage DUI drivers. Anyone under the age of 21 may not drive if they have had any alcohol to drink. Their blood alcohol content (BAC) must be 0.0. This is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction results in a possible penalty of:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $2,500 fine
Underage Drinking Amnesty Law
The change in the Illinois statute makes a person immune to criminal liability for underage drinking or possession of alcohol if:
- the person requested emergency medical assistance to help with a person that appeared to need medical attention due to alcohol consumption, or
- the person acted with another person to obtain medical assistance to help with a person that appeared to need medical attention due to alcohol consumption (applies to up to 3 people); and
- the person provided his/her full name and any other relevant info,
- the person remained at the scene with the person needing medical help until the medical help arrived, and
- the person cooperated with medical personnel and law enforcement officers at the scene
Know the Law
With the change in law, underage drinkers can call for help without fear of getting in trouble. Hopefully as awareness of the new law spreads, underage drinkers will know that they can get the help they need when in dangerous alcohol related situations. If you are underage and have been charged with an alcohol related offense, contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Dennis F. Dwyer is a DUI defense attorney that continuously studies that law to make sure he knows about any recent changes so that he can best defend his clients. Call his office today!