Zero Tolerance & Underage Drinking

speeding01It is illegal in Illinois for individuals under the age of 21 to have alcohol (even unopened) in their possession or to consume alcohol, except as part of a religious ceremony. Unless charged as a local Ordinance Violation, the offenses of Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor and Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor are Class “A” Misdemeanors, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500.00 and jail time not to exceed 364 days, with day-for-day credit to apply. Whether or not you were driving, any person under the age of 21, who is stopped by law enforcement and submits to a breathalyzer test resulting in a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) greater than .00, or who is suspected of consuming or possessing alcohol, and is sentenced to either of these offenses, will have their driver’s license suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State for a minimum of 90 days.

It is also illegal in Illinois to create, possess, borrow or lend a fake I.D. card misrepresenting one’s age in order to obtain alcohol, or to drive a vehicle that is transporting alcohol without a parent, guardian or responsible adult present. Adults 21 of age and older, who knowingly allow underage individuals to possess or consume alcohol (even in their own home), are breaking the law, as are those who rent a hotel/motel room knowing that underage drinking will be taking place there.

Illinois enforces a strict “Zero Tolerance” policy towards those persons under the age of 21 who are suspected of consuming alcohol and driving. Although not a criminal offense, this “Zero Tolerance” policy entails administrative action taken by the Illinois Secretary of State against the motorist’s driver’s license, resulting in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending the motorist’s driver’s license, and including a “Zero Tolerance” (ZT) entry on the motorist’s driver’s abstract. Any driver under the age of 21, who is stopped by law enforcement personnel and submits to a breathalyzer test resulting in a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) greater than .00, will risk having his or her driver’s license suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State.

What Are The Penalties For The Offenses Of Unlawful Consumption Of Alcohol By A Minor And Unlawful Possession Of Alcohol By A Minor?

Unless charged as local Ordinance Violations, the offenses of Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor and Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor are Class “A” Misdemeanors, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,500.00, and jail time not to exceed 364 days, with day-for-day credit to apply. Even a sentence of Court Supervision (not a conviction) will result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending the motorist’s driver’s license for a minimum of 90 days, and including an underage consumption/possession entry on the motorist’s driver’s abstract. Insurance companies and potential employers may have access to this information.

A sentence for a second offense will result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending the motorist’s driver’s license for 180 days. Although a motorist charged with an Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor or Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Ordinance Violation would not face the same penalties as a Class “A” Misdemeanor charge, a sentence for one of these Ordinance Violations would still result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending the motorist’s driver’s license.

What Are The Penalties For Zero Tolerance In Illinois?

Zero Tolerance policy enforcement will result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending the motorist’s driver’s license for 90 days.

Can Law Enforcement Personnel Charge An Underage Person With Driving Under The Influence And Enforce A Zero Tolerance Suspension?

Yes! Law enforcement personnel can charge a person under the age of 21 with a Driving under the Influence offense, and enforce the State of Illinois Zero Tolerance policy. The underage motorist would be subject to the administrative sanctions imposed by the Illinois Secretary of State pursuant to the Zero Tolerance policy, and would face all of the same criminal penalties enforced against an adult driver sentenced for the offense of Driving under the Influence.

Is Driving Relief Available During My Zero Tolerance Suspension Period Or During My Unlawful Consumption/Possession Of Alcohol By A Minor Suspension Period?

No.

We Can Help You With Your Unlawful Consumption/Possession Of Alcohol By A Minor Charge

Attorney David B. Franks can provide you with an aggressive and rigorous defense for Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor and Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor charges. Contact Franks & Rechenberg, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.