Underage Drinking and Driving During Prom Season
As the weather continues to warm up, high school students throughout Northern Illinois will soon be approaching prom season. It is an exciting time of year, and many teenagers have already chosen the “right” dress or tuxedo to turn heads during the big event. While most students are looking forward to festivities that surround prom, many parents are worried about their children and the possibility of alcohol being part of the “fun.” If you are a parent with son or daughter who will be attending the prom, it is important for you to have a focused conversation with your child about the dangers of underage drinking, as well as drinking and driving underage drinking, as well as drinking and driving.
Penalties for Underage Drinking
In addition to the prom itself, your child may receive invitations to events both before and after the dance. Some of these events may be put on by the school or community groups in an effort to curb underage drinking, while others may be private after-parties at another student’s house or a hotel room. As you could probably guess, alcohol is likely to be available at virtually any unofficial post-prom party.
According to Illinois law, the possession or consumption of alcohol possession or consumption of alcohol by a person under age of 21 is illegal. Both are considered to be Class A misdemeanor offenses. As misdemeanors, it is possible for an underage drinking violation to incur jail time of up to one year, but in practice, jail time is unlikely. A person caught drinking underage, however, will be required to pay fines of up to $2,500. He or she will also face a driver’s license suspension of one year upon conviction. If court supervision is offered in place of a conviction, the license suspension will be for three months.
When it comes to drinking and driving, Illinois maintains a “ Zero Tolerance ” policy for those who are under 21. This means that if a teen driver is found to have any alcohol in his or her system whatsoever, he or she is subject to prosecution for driving under the influence. If the driver submits to a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test, and the results are greater than 0.00, the driver’s license will be suspended for three months for a first offense and for one year for a second offense. If an underage driver refuses a testing, his or her license will be suspended for six months for a first offense and two years for a second offense. These suspensions apply regardless of a whether a conviction is handed down.
An underage driver who is convicted on DUI charges will have his or her driver’s license revoked for a minimum of two years. The revocation is in addition to the fines and possible jail time associated with a DUI conviction for a driver of legal drinking age. A convicted underage driver may also be ordered to participate in the state’s Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program—an educational program designed to deter future drinking and driving incidents.
Contact an Attorney for Help
Prom season is the time to make memories, not to destroy lives. If your son or daughter is facing charges for underage drinking or underage DUI, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to get the guidance your family needs. Call 815-740-4025 for a free, no-obligation consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.