In an effort to stop teen alcohol use, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a law that makes giving alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 a misdemeanor. Under the new law, it does not matter where the alcohol is served — which means that it is a crime to serve alcohol to someone underage in public or inside of someone’s own home.
In addition, the new law – House Bill 1554 – states that if you serve alcohol to someone who is underage and they subsequently go on to hurt someone else or themselves because they were intoxicated, as the adult who served the alcohol, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony.
The new law, which is an amendment to the Liquor Control Act of 1934, also says that the adult does not have to physically hand over the alcohol to an underage drinker. If it is determined that the adult should have reasonably known underage drinking would occur on their property, and they did nothing to prevent it, they have broken the new law. Anyone who is convicted under the new law will face incarceration, as well as a fine.
Other Laws to Prevent Underage Drinking
Illinois also has a Dram Shop law, which means that a commercial entity can be held responsible for serving alcohol to someone who is underage if the drinker goes on to injure someone else. Under this law, a business can be held liable if it can be proven that it sold alcohol to the underage drinker; that alcohol contributed to the underage drinker getting intoxicated; and the underage drinker went on to injure someone else because of being drunk.
How Common Is Underage Drinking?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year alcohol is in some way responsible for about 4,700 deaths — and 11 percent of victims are underage drinkers.
The CDC also reports that underage drinkers are at risk of things like alcohol poisoning, suicide, memory problems and long-term difficulties with brain functioning.
Get the Legal Counsel You Need
Alcohol-related offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with a crime that involves alcohol, consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has experience with these types of cases. A qualified lawyer can let you know what your rights are and help you mount a defense against the charges.
Public Act 097-1049
LRB097 06478 ASK 46561 b
AN ACT concerning liquor.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Liquor Control Act of 1934 is amended by
changing Section 6-16 as follows:
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Section whoever
violates this Section shall, in addition to other penalties
provided for in this Act, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) Any person shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor
where he or she knowingly authorizes or permits
a residence which he or she occupies to be used by an invitee
under 21 years of age and :
(1) the person occupying the residence knows that any
such person under the age of 21 is in possession of or is
consuming any alcoholic beverage; and
(2) the possession or consumption of the alcohol by the
person under 21 is not otherwise permitted by this Act. ;
For the purposes of this subsection (c) where the residence
has an owner and a tenant or lessee, there is a rebuttable
presumption that the residence is occupied only by the tenant
or lessee. The sentence of any person who violates this
subsection (c) shall include, but shall not be limited to, a
fine of not less than $500. Where a violation of this
subsection (c) directly or indirectly results in great bodily
harm or death to any person, the person violating this
subsection (c) shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. Nothing in
this subsection (c) shall be construed to prohibit the giving
of alcoholic liquor to a person under the age of 21 years in
the performance of a religious ceremony or service in
observation of a religious holiday.
A person shall not be in violation of this subsection (c)
if (A) he or she requests assistance from the police department
or other law enforcement agency to either (i) remove any person
who refuses to abide by the person’s performance of the duties
imposed by this subsection (c) or (ii) terminate the activity
because the person has been unable to prevent a person under
the age of 21 years from consuming alcohol despite having taken
all reasonable steps to do so and (B) this assistance is
requested before any other person makes a formal complaint to
the police department or other law enforcement agency about the
(d) Any person who rents a hotel or motel room from the
proprietor or agent thereof for the purpose of or with the
knowledge that such room shall be used for the consumption of
alcoholic liquor by persons under the age of 21 years shall be
guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(e) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, any person
who has alcoholic liquor in his or her possession on public
school district property on school days or at events on public
school district property when children are present is guilty of
a petty offense, unless the alcoholic liquor (i) is in the
original container with the seal unbroken and is in the
possession of a person who is not otherwise legally prohibited
from possessing the alcoholic liquor or (ii) is in the
possession of a person in or for the performance of a religious
service or ceremony authorized by the school board.
(Source: P.A. 95-563, eff. 8-31-07.)
To learn more about Illinois Alcohol Laws and get your Bartender or Server License click here.