Adults who serve alcohol and/or drugs to underage individuals can be held liable for injuries that result. Contributing adults may also face criminal charges that can result in fines and possible jail time.
It’s a crime to serve alcohol and/or drugs to any person under the age of 21 in Illinois. Whether the alcohol is served in a public place like a restaurant, hotel or bar, or in someone’s private residence, it’s still a crime. If someone is injured as a result of serving a minor alcohol or drugs, the person who served them can face a Class 4 felony charge, steep fines, and possible incarceration. Under a new amendment to the Liquor Control Act of 1934, an adult doesn’t have to physically hand the alcohol to the underage drinker to break the law. If it’s determined that the adult knew underage drinking would occur on the property, and did nothing to prevent it, the adult can face jail time and fines if convicted.
The Illinois Dram Shop law holds businesses responsible for injuries that result from serving alcohol to an underage person. If it’s proven that the business sold alcohol to an underage drinker, that alcohol contributed to intoxication, and the underage drinker injured someone as a result of intoxication, the business can be held liable for damages.
The Illinois Social Host Law, enacted in 2013, holds adults liable for underage drinking in the home. According to this law:
- Adults, including parents, who host a party at their home and knowingly serve alcohol to people under the age of 21 are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor that can result in a fine.
- If an underage person who was drinking in the home causes injuries or fatalities as a result of intoxication, the adults hosting the party or who own the home are guilty of a Class 4 felony and can be held liable for damages or injuries that occur.
Under the Social Host Law, if adults call the police to remove underage drinkers from the home, they will not be guilty of violating the law as long as the call is made prior to police responding for other reasons.