New Underage Drinking Law Cracks Down on Parents

Provisions of an Illinois law expands on parents' responsibilities to prevent underage drinking on their property.

A law taking effect Jan. 1 targeting underage drinking will crack down on parents who allow minors to drink anywhere on their property, expanding on the current law that specifies it is illegal to let minors drink at their home. 

The expanded law makes it a misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine for any adult to knowingly permit minors under the age of 21 to drink alcohol on their property or in their home. If the violation results in bodily harm or death, the adult will be charged with a felony, according to Public Act 097-1049 on the Illinois General Assembly website.

The provision also strikes the requirement that the person in the home knows about the underage drinking activity.

Further, a parent or guardian who knowingly allows a minor to use their property in a way that violates the act's prohibited sales and possession provisions is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

DUI attorney Donald Ramsell, of Ramsell & Associates in Wheaton, said the law goes too far in its attempt to punish parents when teenagers drink, forcing them to act like police officers any time teenagers visit their homes. 

"The old law carried penalties only when parents actually authorized the drinking or actually knew it was occurring. This new law would put a parent in jail for up to 1 year simply because they failed to prevent underage drinking on their properties," he said. 

If an adult calls the police for assistance with getting rid of anyone breaking the rules on their property, he or she would not be in violation of the act, according to the release. 

Despiser of Obama December 15, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Charles you sound do stupid. What papers? You make it sound like the Police have no right to stop anyone. Do you know it's legal for a Police Officer to enter your house w/o a warrant if they see under age teens drinking and make arrest. So you think it's okay for parents to let their kids drink. Get a life. You sound like you once got arrested and you think you got wronged.
Sam Adams December 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM
They can pass any law they want, it doesn't mean it is legal or enforceable. This will be overturned by the courts for sure.
Despiser of Obama December 15, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Wrong Sam!
The Sentinel December 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Charles...your commjent is pure bull pucky.
Jerry Gallo December 30, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Despiser of Obama is the biggest troll on the NP.


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