UNDERAGE ALCOHOL POSSESSION
ILLINOIS DEFENSE FIRM WITH 40-PLUS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
As a zero tolerance state, Illinois enforces harsh restrictions on minors involved with alcohol. Anyone younger than 21 found with alcohol on their person or in their system is at risk of being arrested and facing tough penalties. Even trace amounts of alcohol can lead to an arrest, which begs the question—is there any hope of successfully fighting your charges?
We believe the answer is yes, but only with the right defense team on your side. At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., you’ll find DuPage County DUI attorneys with numerous awards, experience as former prosecutors, and over 10,000 criminal cases under their belts. If you want a chance at having your charges overturned, hiring our firm should be your first step.
PENALTIES FOR UNDERAGE ALCOHOL POSSESSION
The list of things you can be charged with for underage alcohol possession is long. As a driver, you may be arrested for getting behind the wheel with alcohol in your system or refusing to take a BAC test. You can also be charged for illegally transporting alcohol. Your circumstances will determine the penalties incurred. Furthermore, it may also depend on where in Illinois you are being prosecuted.
As a minor arrested for alcohol possession, you run the risk of being penalized with:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $2,500 in fines
- Up to five years of suspended or revoked driving privileges
- Mandatory driving restrictions
- Community service
Even your parents can be impacted by your arrest. If you were knowingly allowed to drink as a minor and you caused an accident that resulted in bodily harm or death, your parents could face fines and imprisonment.
DEFENDING AGAINST UNDERAGE ALCOHOL POSSESSION CHARGES
Too many people believe that if police caught them with alcohol, a criminal conviction is inevitable. Parents may also believe that their child should face the consequences of their actions and may think that hiring a criminal defense attorney is futile. This is a mistake, however, as the consequences for underage possession of alcohol can have a lasting effect on your child’s life. Also, be aware that many arrests and criminal charges are unjustified and the prosecutor should have to meet their burden of proof to obtain a conviction. This means that any minor facing charges should have skilled defense counsel from the very start of their case.
Our attorneys know how prosecutors try to obtain convictions in these cases and we know how to challenge them. First, if you do not have your own attorney, a prosecutor can try to convince you that pleading guilty is your only option. This is not the case, and you should never plead guilty to ANY type of offense without first having a defense attorney evaluate your case.
There are many ways we can defend against underage alcohol possession charges, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some defense strategies may include:
- Seeking suppression of evidence – Underage possession arrests and charges usually depend on the police finding alcohol on a minor or in a vehicle, which the prosecutor then uses as evidence to prove the charges. If the police obtained the evidence illegally, we can file a motion for the court to suppress the evidence. This can happen if police stopped you or your vehicle or conducted a search without justification.
- Challenging possession allegations – To prove such charges beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution must prove that you are younger than age 21 and that you had alcohol in your control or possession. While it won’t be possible to challenge your age, our attorneys can challenge whether you knew about the alcohol or actually had it in your possession as defined by law.
- Presenting an affirmative defense – In some cases, you can admit that you had alcohol but present a legal justification for doing so. For example, if you possessed alcohol while your parents supervised and gave their permission, you did not violate the law. You also may possess alcohol as part of a religious ceremony or service.
Presenting such defenses can often result in the dismissal of your charges. However, in some cases, a dismissal may not be possible. In these situations, our defense attorneys stand up for our clients by trying to get a prosecutor to reduce your charges or agree to a lesser sentence. In some cases, you may receive a sentence of court supervision, which can prevent a conviction on your record and the collateral consequences that so often stem from a conviction.
The only way for us to know your best options is to directly analyze your circumstances and the allegations against you. Do not wait to call our office for a free case evaluation.
CHOOSE OUR TRUSTED DUI LAWYERS IN DUPAGE, KANE, OR COOK COUNTY!
Your choice of representation matters, which is why our firm makes it easy for you. We received the 2013 Top Lawyer in Illinois Award by Super Lawyers® and maintain a 10.0 Superb Avvo Rating. With case results that speak volumes of the quality of legal assistance we deliver, we believe that you don’t need to look anywhere else in your search for the right defense attorney.
You have the rest of your life ahead of you and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that your future endeavors are not tarnished by this arrest. Schedule your free consultation by calling our firm today at (630) 474-8000!
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A Wheaton client who was arrested for domestic battery got her case dismissed for lack of prosecution. The arrest expungement was immediately filed by M&K lawyers.Case Results