Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Illinois Minors and Alcohol Laws

The State of Illinois strictly prohibits the possession, use and consumption of alcoholic beverages by individuals under the age of 21. Included in the possession law are provisions for individuals who obtain or possess illegal or invalid identification cards. The offender does not need to be driving or in public view to be found guilty under the possession laws.

Possession and Consumption

The state explicitly states that purchasing; accepting, distributing, delivering and consuming alcohol are considered possession under the current state code. The law also states it is prohibited to provide alcohol to minors, even under the supervision of a parent or guardian, under any circumstances or for any occasion. Further prohibited is defacing, altering, transferring or providing false information to obtain a state issued identification card. There are no provisions for medicinal alcohol use or private establishments.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-20


Infractions under the Illinois possession law are considered class A misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors carry the potential for several forms of punishment and the judge will determine the best course of action based on the individual case. When multiple infractions of the law are involved, the judge can sentence the offender to concurrent or consecutive sentences. Types of punishment include:
  • Incarceration - The juvenile can be sentenced to up to one year in a juvenile facility if under the age of 18 and in an adult incarceration facility if between the ages of 18 and 21.
  • Impact Incarceration - This boot camp style program aims at reshaping the offenders' behavior and providing them with the necessary discipline to avoid future incarceration. The offender must be found eligible for the program before sentencing.
  • Probation - The judge may order up to two years of probation for the offender along with conditions for the probation and discharge of the sentence.
  • Fines - The offender can be ordered to pay a fine up to $2500 in addition to the punishments listed above.
  • Restitution - Restitution includes returning property, including stolen alcohol, or paying for the goods taken, damages done to property as a result of the alcohol use and paying for the repairs that must be completed to personal property
  • Drug Court - If the judge determines that the offender has a problem with alcohol he may order a course of treatment through drug court. Treatment programs are tailored to the individual and include rehabilitation facilities, medical treatment and mandatory reporting and testing for further alcohol use.
  • Electronic Home Detention - Electronic monitoring restricts the offender from leaving their home residence. A monitoring unit is placed on the offenders' body and a monitoring unit is connected to the utilities in the home. If the monitoring device leaves the area an alarm will sound and police will be dispatched.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/5-4.5-55 and 730 Illinois Compiled Statute 5; 166/20

Shortening the Sentence

In some instances, the offenders' sentence can be shortened by the following:
  • Home Detention - The offender may be eligible to receive credit for time spent in home detention before and during the trial
  • Good Conduct - The offender can receive one day of good behavior allowance for days served before the trial, during the trial and after sentencing if no violent offenses were committed along with the possession of alcohol or while serving the time.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/5-4.5-55 and 730 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/5-4.5-100; 130

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