It’s the Law


Boy, the laws have changed since I was a teenager. The problem is, lots of people don’t know about them. And, it is important as a parent you know and understand them to both protect yourself and your child.

We could go into all of the brain science and data that supports why they are now in use but that would be better placed in another article or two or three….  For now, let’s look at the laws you need to know.

Social Host Law

It is against the law for a parent to knowingly provide alcohol or a space where underage alcohol consumption takes place. The space could be your house, property you own, a hotel room you rent, a boat or anything else you own or rent. Here is what the law says: 

  • If you allow or host a party at your house and provide alcohol to people under age 21 (or if you know or should have known that they are drinking alcohol), you are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. This will result in a fine. Note that you are held responsible regardless if you are the one who provides the alcohol AND regardless if you are home or not.
  • If a minor who was drinking at your house injures or kills someone, you are guilty of a Class 4 felony. This could result in both a fine and/or jail time.
  • You will not be guilty of violating the law if you request help from the police to help remove the underage drinkers and stop the gathering. This only holds if you are the first one to call. It does not work if the police show up after a complaint from a neighbor and then you ask for help.

 Zero Tolerance

Most people know the legal limit for those over 21 is 0.08%. But did you know there is a zero tolerance policy for those under the age of 21. This means that any amount of alcohol in their system can get them into trouble.

  • 1st OFFENSE: Three-month suspension of driving privileges; six-month suspension with refusal of alcohol testing.
  • 2nd OFFENSE (before age 21): One-year suspension of driver’s license; two-year suspension with refusal of testing.

Fake ID

Unfortunately, internet availability has increased the number of teens using fake ID’s. Here is what they need to know:

It is illegal to assist in obtaining or to fraudulently obtain, distribute, use, or possess a fraudulent state ID card/driver’s license. Your driving privileges can be suspended for up to one year or revoked for a minimum of one year.

You can be convicted of a CLASS A MISDEMEANOR punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500 FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Lending a license or state ID to a friend or knowingly allowing someone (such as a younger sibling) to use it.
  • Displaying or representing as one’s own any driver’s license or ID card issued to another person.
  • Possessing a fictitious driver’s license or identification card (“fictitious” means a license containing untrue information produced by the Illinois Secretary of State or another state/federal government office).
  • Possessing, transferring or providing any identification document, whether real or fictitious, for the purpose of obtaining a fictitious ID card or driver’s license.
  • Altering or attempting to alter a driver’s license or state ID.
  • Any subsequent conviction of above is a Class 4 felony.

You can be convicted of a CLASS 4 FELONY punishable by one to three years imprisonment and fines up to $25,000 FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Possessing a fraudulent Illinois driver’s license or ID card (“fraudulent” means a license or ID card produced by someone other than a government office).
  • Possessing security equipment to reproduce a government issued identification card or driver’s license.
  • Advertising, distributing, manufacturing, or selling a fraudulent driver’s license.
  • Any subsequent conviction of the aforementioned is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.”

Medical Amnesty

If a teen is ever concerned that someone has consumed too much alcohol or other drugs, it is important they not hesitate to call 911 and ask for help, regardless of if they too were consuming the substance. That is why, Illinois now has a Medical Amnesty law that will prevent them from getting in trouble. Here is how it reads:

A law enforcement officer may not charge or otherwise take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense that involves alcohol and violates subsection (d) or (e) of this Section if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply:

  • Requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption
  • Acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to need medical assistance due to alcohol consumption
  • Provide your full name and any other reasonable information required by law enforcement.
  • Remain at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance until emergency medical personnel have arrived; and
  • Cooperate with emergency medical assistance, and law enforcement at the scene

Consumption of Alcohol

 Most parents and teens know it is against the law to consume alcohol but do you know the consequences? Here is what you need to know:

  • The consumption of alcohol for those under the age of 21: Minimum fine of $500
  • Possessing, purchasing, and accepting alcohol as a gift under the age of 21: Minimum $500 fine and 25 hours of community service.
  • Possession, consumption, purchase, or receipt of alcohol by an individual under the age of 21 years of age: 3-month suspension of driving privileges and court supervision, 6 months for first conviction, 1 year for second conviction, and license revocation for subsequent convictions.