The Law and Underage Drinking

While you undoubtedly know it is illegal in Illinois to drink under the age of 21, you may not be aware of the plethora of state and municipal laws which govern the consumption, possession and use of alcohol and which prohibit the possession of, and/or use of, a fake or falsified drivers license or ID to obtain alcohol or gain admission to premises licensed to sell alcohol.

Pursuant to the Illinois Liquor control Act, it is a Class C misdemeanor for any person under 21 years of age to purchase, accept as a gift or possess or consume alcohol except in the performance of religious service or ceremony or where the consumption by the person under 21 is under the direct supervision and approval of the parent or parents of such person in the privacy of a home. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500. Underage consumption is also violation of the City of DeKalb Municipal Ordinances and carries a minimum $100 fine and court costs of approximately $50.

State law prohibits any person who has purchased or otherwise obtained alcoholic liquor to sell, give or deliver such a alcoholic liquor to another person under the age of 21 years. Violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor and subjects the offender to up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. While all laws relating to alcohol are strictly enforced in DeKalb County, selling or providing alcohol to minors is punished most severely. Expect the state to request jail upon conviction.

Under the law, any person under 21 who presents or offers to any (liquor) licensee, his agent or employee, any written, printed or photostatic evidence of age and identity which is false, fraudulent or not actually his own in order to purchase or obtain an alcoholic beverage or who has a false or fraudulent ID in his possession is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor which subjects said person to up to 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Any person who sells, gives or furnishes a false ID to a person under 21 is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Misrepresenting age by any means to obtain alcohol is also a DeKalb Ordinance violation, the minimum fine for which is $150 plus costs.

Be aware that misuse of an Illinois driver’s license or ID card – whether by altering the card yourself, displaying or merely possessing an altered or fictitious card or permitting someone else to use your license or ID – can result in a one year suspension of your driving privileges by action of the Secretary of State regardless of whether you are charged criminally. Local police routinely send confiscated false IDES and altered drivers licenses to Springfield which will prompt the Secretary of State to suspend your license.

It is also illegal in the city of DeKalb for any person, regardless of age, to carry an open container of alcoholic beverage on any street, alley or publicly maintained way. “Open” as defined by the ordinance means unsealed to the air, e.g., a bottle with its cap off or a can with its lid open, etc. The minimum fine for this offense is $100 plus costs.

Additionally, it is illegal in DeKalb to sell or offer for sale any alcohol without having a retail liquor dealer’s license. expect the maximum or near maximum 41,000 fine to be assessed against you if you have a “keg” or other function where an admission fee is charged and alcoholic liquor provided to persons admitted. Be aware that each person participating in such a venture may be charged and fined separately.

Finally, the DeKalb ordinances prohibit any person under 21 from entering onto or remaining on premises licensed to sell alcohol unless that person is accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian. The minimum fine for entering a bar or liquor store in violation of this ordinance is $150 plus court costs.