In Illinois, it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. There are penalties for anyone that breaks this law by selling or providing alcohol to underage drinkers. In addition to criminal penalties for breaking this law, liquor licenses can be fined, suspended or even revoked. This Illinois Fact Sheet briefly describes the underage drinking laws.
Laws and Penalties
Illinois prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. This is a class A misdemeanor. Similarly, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. This is a class C misdemeanor. As with any criminal misconduct, penalties vary depending on the situation. The following chart summarizes the different laws for the unlawful sale of alcohol in Illinois and possible penalties.
|Law||Class of Offense||Possible Criminal Penalties||Possible Penalties to Liquor License|
|Sales & Delivery: It is unlawful to sell, serve, deliver or give alcohol to anyone under 21 or that is already intoxicated.||Class A misdemeanor||
|Sales & Delivery: It is prohibited for anyone that purchases alcohol to then sell, deliver or give that alcohol to anyone under 21.||Class A misdemeanor||
|Sales & Delivery: It is unlawful to sell, serve, deliver or give alcohol to anyone that is intoxicated.||Class A misdemeanor||
|Purchase/Possession/Consumption: It is illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol.||Class C misdemeanor||
|Purchase/Possession/Consumption: Anyone under 21 is prohibited from possessing an alcoholic beverage on the street, highway, or any place open to the public.||Class C misdemeanor||
|Purchase/Possession/Consumption: It is prohibited for anyone under 21 to purchase, possess, consume and/or accept as a gift any alcohol beverages except in the privacy of their home, supervised by parents or as part of a religious ceremony.||Class C misdemeanor||
|Social Host Law: It is illegal for anyone to knowingly authorize or permit a person under 21 to possess or consume alcohol.||Class A misdemeanor||
|Social Host Law: A violation of the “Social Host” law that results directly or indirectly in great bodily harm, or death||Class 4 felony||
|False Identification: It is illegal for a person under 21 to possess, present or offer any written, printed or photostatic evidence of age or identity that is false, fraudulent or not actually his/her own for the purpose of ordering purchasing or attempting to procure alcoholic beverages.||Class A misdemeanor, orClass 4 Felony||
It is illegal to possess a fake ID and use it to attempt to buy alcohol. Depending on the type of fake ID you can be convicted of either a class A misdemeanor or a class 4 felony. You can be convicted of a class A misdemeanor if you:
- lend a license or state ID to a friend or younger sibling
- display an ID issued to another person as yours
- possess a fictitious ID (produced by the Illinois Secretary of State with false or pretend information)
- posses, transfer or provide any identification document, real or fictitious, to obtain a fictitious ID or license
- alter or attempt to alter a license or state ID
The penalty for a class A misdemeanor is up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
You can be convicted of a class 4 felony if you:
- get a second or subsequent conviction for the above mentioned offenses
- possess a fraudulent license or ID (license or ID produced by someone other than a government office)
- possess security equipment to reproduce a government issued ID or license
- advertise, distribute, manufacture or sell fraudulent licenses
- subsequent convictions are a class 3 felony
The penalty for a class 4 felony is up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney
Anytime you are charged with a crime, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney to provide counsel and represent your case in court. If you have either been charged with unlawfully selling alcohol, unlawfully consuming alcohol, using or producing fake IDs, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Michael P. Chomiak is an experienced criminal defense attorney, capable of representing all types of criminal cases. Contact his office today to get more information about how he can represent your matter.