The State of Illinois has strict laws regarding minors who possess or consume alcohol. If you are charged with violating the minor in possession (MIP) laws, you may face criminal charges and the suspension of your driver’s license, even if you were not drinking and driving at the time of the offense.
Drinking and Possessing Alcohol
If you are under the age of twenty-one, it is illegal to possess or consume alcohol. Minors who are found possessing alcohol in a public place or any place that is open to the public can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor offense. The penalties include:
- up to one year in jail, and
- a fine of up to $2,500.
Illinois provides for two important exceptions to their MIP law, covering religious ceremonies and supervised use:
- Minors may possess, dispense, or consume alcohol in the performance of a religious service or cermony.
- Minors may consume alcohol in the privacy of a home when under the direct supervision and with the approval of a parent or anyone standing in the shoes of a parent.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-20
In addition to jail time and a fine, the judge can impose any of the following:
- Supervision. The court will supervise you for a period of time, usually for one year. If you have performed all of the court’s requirements at the end of that period, the charges against you will be dismissed.
- Probation. The probation period can last up to two years, and you will be required to report to a probation officer and comply with all other probationary conditions during this time.
- Conditional discharge. You will not be required to report to a probation officer. However, a conditional discharge from jail means that you must not violate the law again within a specified period of time.
- Restitution. You'll be ordered to compensate any victims for any losses, if applicable.
- Community service. You may be ordered to perform community service at a non-profit organization for a number of hours. In Cook County, community service is performed through the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) of the Social Services Department.
- Work release. Inmates are allowed out of jail if they have a current full-time job. You will continue to work at your place of employment and return to jail each night if you meet certain conditions.
- Home detention. This is done by electronic monitoring. Participants are required to wear an ankle bracelet twenty-four hoursa day. You will not be allowed out of your house except to work, attend school, go to church, attend treatment programs, grocery shop, or to visit the doctor when necessary. Random breath testing or telephone checks may also be required during house arrest.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-20 and 730 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/5-1-14
Minors Presenting Fake Identification to Obtain Alcohol
If you are under the age of twenty-one, it is illegal to present a fake identification to obtain alcohol. Violating this law will result in being charged with a Class A misdemeanor offense and you will be subject to the following penalties:
- a fine of not less than $500, and
- performing at least 25 hours of community service. Community service is performed at an alcohol abuse prevention program whenever possible.
235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-16
Transportation or Possession of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle
In Illinois, it is illegal to possess, carry, or transport any alcoholic beverage within the passenger area of a motor vehicle, unless the alcohol is in the original container with an unbroken seal. If you are under the age of twenty-one and violate this law, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. A judge must review the license suspension for individuals under the age of twenty-one.
625 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/11-502(f)
To learn more about the MIP laws, read Chapter 235 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. If you are facing MIP charges in Illinois, contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice.