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Adult Responsibility for Liquor Use by Minors

Joliet underage consumption lawyer

As the weather warms up, the planning begins for proms, graduation parties, and summer get-togethers. Both parents and children should be sure that they do not wreck their summer by getting in trouble for breaking laws related to liquor use by minors. While underage drinkers themselves are subject to legal penalties, adults can face penalties if they allow or enable alcohol consumption by minors. Here is a quick refresher course for adults.

1. Parents Are Responsible for Underage Drinking By Their Children’s Guests

In the state of Illinois, a parent or legal guardian can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and fined a minimum of $500 if they knowingly permit under-age-21 invitees of their child or ward to consume alcohol:

• In their residence.
• On any private property under their control, including rented property such as a vacation cottage where they are the tenant or lessee.
• In any vehicle or watercraft under their control, including a limousine, party bus, or pontoon boat (a new section of the law added in 2015).

In addition, if a violation of the above directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person, a person can be found guilty of a Class 4 felony. As a parent, if you let their teenage children or their friends have a few drinks, you could end up spending the next year fighting criminal charges in court.

2. All Adults, Including College Students, Are Responsible for Underage Drinking By Guests in Their Illinois Residence

Under the Illinois Social Host Law of 2013, you are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if you knowingly allow an underage invitee to possess or consume alcohol in your place of residence. You will be held responsible even if you did not supply the alcohol and even if you were not home when the drinking occurred. The minimum punishment for this crime is a fine of $500. If multiple people share the residence, each resident can be fined the $500 minimum.

In addition, if such consumption directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person, you can be found guilty of a Class 4 felony, the penalty for which includes a minimum of one year in jail.

You can, however, avoid criminal charges under this law IF you request assistance from law enforcement to stop the underage drinking BEFORE any other person makes a formal complaint to law enforcement.

3. Adults Renting a Hotel Room Have Legal Responsibility

It is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois for:

• A hotel/motel employee to rent a room to a person under age 21 knowing that alcohol will be consumed there. (The minimum age to rent a hotel room is generally 18, but some Illinois municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting rentals to anyone under age 21.)
• Any person age 21 or older to pay for a room in a hotel, motel, resort, or similar business knowing that underage drinking will take place there.
Hotel employees should be trained to ensure that they do not provide access to alcohol to underage individuals, including not giving them keys to minibars containing alcohol and not delivering liquor via room service without checking IDs.

Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a liquor law violation, you could be facing penalties far worse than a $500 fine. An experienced Will County liquor violations attorney will investigate your case thoroughly to develop evidence that could get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

Cook County Referendum Shows Many Residents Support Legalizing Marijuana

Joliet marijuana lawyer

The nation’s opinion about marijuana has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Once considered only a reactional drug, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are now being utilized by thousands of individuals across the country. Thirty states, including Illinois, have embraced looser marijuana laws of some kind while eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana entirely. According to a recent Cook County referendum, there may be many Illinois residents who would support Illinois becoming the next state to allow the use of recreational marijuana.

Polls Show Many Illinois Residents Support Recreational Marijuana Use

In the referendum, 68 percent of voters indicated that they were in favor of “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.” The referendum was only advisory and will not change any existing drug laws in Illinois, but advocates of recreational marijuana claim that this referendum proves that Illinois residents are ready for legalization.

Statewide polls conducted by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University also suggest that the majority of Illinois residents are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy have introduced a bill which would legalize recreational use of marijuana for Illinois residents over the age of 21. They say that the bill would ultimately lead to a $350 million to $700 million increase in annual tax revenue from the sale of marijuana. It would also eradicate what some call discriminatory and ineffective policing efforts while simultaneously weakening illegal markets and cartels. Advocates of the bill also point out that legalizing marijuana could help stop black market dealers from selling marijuana or harder drugs to children.

Current Rules Regarding Marijuana Use in Illinois

While a recreational bill has been introduced, marijuana is only currently legal in Illinois for those who have a valid state-issued medical marijuana ID card. If you do not qualify for medical marijuana, it is against the law for you to possess or use cannabis. However, possession of less than ten grams is only a civil violation, similar to a parking ticket. Possessing larger amounts of cannabis, selling or trafficking marijuana, or growing marijuana are all criminal offenses which currently can be considered felonies in Illinois.

Have You Been Charged with a Drug-Related Crime?

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need an attorney who will help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. To speak with an experienced Joliet drug crimes attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, call us at 815-740-4025.

Can I Be Convicted of Drunk Driving with Blood Alcohol Under .08%?

Joliet DUI lawyers

Can you be convicted of drunk driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) below .08%? The short answer is, YES, if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above .05% AND the police can show evidence that you were driving impaired. In other words, the real crime is not your blood-alcohol level. The crime is driving while impaired.

Driving Can Be Impaired When BAC Exceeds .05 BAC

In Illinois and every other state, drivers are automatically judged “impaired” when their BAC is .08% or higher. But, in fact, alcohol affects your coordination and judgment from the first drink. According to the Illinois DUI Fact Book, your risk of being in a crash increases significantly when your BAC exceeds .05%. The latest report sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released in January 2018, recommends lowering the legal limit to .05% BAC.

A Breathalyzer Result Over .05% BAC Has Consequences

If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, you will be taken to a police station for chemical testing of your breath and/or blood. What happens next depends on the test results.

If your BAC test result is over .05% but less than .08%:

• Your driver’s license will NOT be suspended at this time. A BAC of .08% or more is necessary for the statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license.
• The DUI charge still stands until you go to court, where the arresting officer and other witnesses will have the opportunity to present evidence of your impairment that could lead to your being convicted of DUI. For example, the arresting officer may testify about any traffic violations you committed and your performance on field sobriety tests. Your defense attorney can help you understand the evidence and develop a strong defense.

Be aware that you have the right to obtain additional BAC testing at your own expense, and those test results are admissible in court in your defense. For example, if you consented to a breathalyzer test, and you think the result is too high, you can request a blood test which may show a different result.

As you can see, Illinois DUI law is complex. If convicted, you face severe penalties, even for a first arrest, not to mention total out-of-pocket costs that can exceed $18,000. To ensure the best possible outcome, you should seek the advice of an attorney with extensive experience in DUI defense in your county.

Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Joliet DUI Defense Attorney

If you were charged with DUI with a BAC under .08%, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Will County DUI defense lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly to develop evidence that could get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

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