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Federal, State, and Local Laws

General Laws

Illinois law prohibits a person under the age of 21 from purchasing, accepting, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. Penalties for violating those laws, whether or not involving a motor vehicle, may result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges.

Underage Drinking

The consumption of alcohol by any person under 21 years of age is illegal. [235 ILCS 5/6-20]

False ID's

Persons under twenty-one who present or offer false evidence for purposes of obtaining or purchasing alcohol may be jailed for up to one year and fined $2,500. [235 ILCS 5/6-16]

Possession by Minor

Persons under twenty-one who possess alcohol on or in any street or public place may be jailed for up to one year and fined $2,500.  [235 ILCS 5/6-16]

Social Host

As of January 1, 2013, Illinois House Bill 1554 places greater accountability on individuals who permit, allow or host gatherings involving alcohol. An individual shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor (and face a fine of $500 minimum) for permitting individuals under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol at their residence or on their property – even if the gathering is BYOB. When the violation directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person, the person who committed the violation shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

A social host will be protected from criminal prosecution (i.e., given amnesty) if they request assistance from the police to remove the underage guest who refuses to stop drinking or to end the gathering when guests will not comply. This request for police assistance must be made before any other person makes a formal complaint to law enforcement about the gathering. See the full text of the law.

Illegal Transportation

It is illegal to transport alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of a vehicle. No matter whom the alcohol belongs to, everyone in the vehicle can be charged with illegal transportation. If you are driving the vehicle, your driving privileges will be suspended for 12 months for the first offense. A second offense will result in the revocation of your driving privileges and vehicle registration.  [625 ILCS 5/11-502]

Providing Alcohol to Minors

Illinois law provides for a prison term up to one year and for a fine of not less than $500 for knowingly providing alcohol to persons under twenty-one. [235 ILCS 5/6-16]

Driving Under the Influence

Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof is against Illinois law. [625 ILCS 5/6-201]. Blood-Alcohol Level (BAL) is the percent of alcohol present in the blood. It is illegal to operate a vehicle in Illinois with a BAL above .00 for drivers underage 21 and at/above .08 for drivers age 21 and over.

Aside from the loss of driving privileges, possible fines and jail time, other consequences caused by drinking and driving may include high insurance costs, mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment, court and attorney fees and negative long-term effects on your driving record and job opportunities.

Evanston Ordinances

Responsibility for Minor Consumption

It is unlawful for any parent, guardian, or adult occupant over age 21 to knowingly permit a gathering at premises owned, controlled or occupied by him/her of two or more persons under the age of 18 where alcohol is possessed or consumed by minors. [Evanston Municipal Code3-5-13]

Age Restrictions

Any person to whom the sale of alcohol is prohibited because of age cannot buy or accept a gift of alcohol or have alcohol in his/her possession. [Evanston Municipal Code 3-5-14(A)]

False Identification

Using false identification, including using the card of another or using a false or forged identification card, to buy alcohol shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1000.  [Evanston Municipal Code3-5-14(C)]


Except as otherwise provided, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1000 for each offense, and a separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues. [Evanston Municipal Code 3-5-17]

City of Chicago Alcohol Sanctions

Under the Chicago Municipal Code, it is unlawful for any person to drink any alcoholic liquor on any public way or in a motor vehicle upon a public way in the city of Chicago. Penalties include a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, and/or punishment by imprisonment for a period of six months.

Federal Laws

Possession and delivery of controlled substances is prohibited by the United States Code, Uniform Controlled Substances Acts [21USC 801 and following].  Similar to Illinois law, individuals can be penalized on the quantity of confiscated drugs, the type(s) of drugs found, the number of previous offenses by the individual, and whether the individual intended to manufacture, sell, or use the drug.  Any individual who knowingly possesses a controlled substance that is in an amount that, as specified by regulation of the Attorney General, is a personal use amount shall be liable to the United States for civil and criminal penalties.