The Aurora Police Department shared a seasonal concern this week in an open letter to parents and guardians of the graduating Class of 2018.
“With graduation season upon us, we are reminded of how many times each year we deal with hosts of graduation parties who express surprise to learn that it is illegal to furnish alcohol to minors attending the parties,” APD spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.
According to the Illinois Social Host Law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, homeowners are held accountable for underage drinking that occurs in their home.
These are the rules set by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission:
- If you host a party at your house and supply alcohol to people under 21 you are guilty of a Class-A misdemeanor which means you will be fined. Please pay attention to two special notes:
- You are still liable of you knew or should have known the underage persons were drinking even if you did not supply the alcohol.
- You are still responsible regardless if you supplied the alcohol AND whether you are home or not.
- If a minor who was drinking at your house injures or kills someone, you could be convicted of a Class-4 felony, which will result in both a fine AND jail time.
- You will not be violating the law if you call us to help remove the underage drinkers and stop the gathering.
On that last bullet point, Ferrelli says there’s a “BUT.”
“You have to be the one to call,” Ferrelli said. “It does not hold true if we show up after getting a complaint (say, from a neighbor) and THEN you ask for help.”
Be aware that besides serving jail time and paying fines in criminal court, you can also be held liable civilly, Ferrelli said.
Party hosts can also be held responsible if an adult drinks to excess and then kills or injures a third party — whether or not they were on or off the property where the party is held.
Ultimately, in the United States, a Minor in Possession is illegal and typically a misdemeanor.
Therefore, anyone who is under the age of 21 and possesses alcohol in the United States – with the exception of special circumstances – is violating the law of the state.
Are you, or is someone you know, a minor or young adult charged with underage possession of alcohol?
If so, it is crucial that you find a Defense Lawyer who has a background in defending underage possession of alcohol cases.