Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois juvenile crimes lawyerSpring is a popular time for teen drinking. Prom, spring break, and graduation celebrations all provide opportunities for underage drinking, and advocates are encouraging parents to discuss the consequences of underage drinking with their children. Aside from physical and emotional harm, underage drinking can bring with it a slew of legal consequences if caught. In Illinois, consequences can include misdemeanor charges, and the penalties increase if the drinker was behind the wheel or used a fake form of identification to acquire the alcohol. These consequences, however, do not seem to be slowing Illinois teens. Higher Than National Rates

According to a new report conducted by the Illinois Youth Survey, alcohol abuse by Illinois teens is higher than the national average. The survey results show that 26 percent of Illinois 8th graders report drinking alcohol in the past year. By senior year, the number increases significantly. 62 percent of Illinois high school seniors report consuming alcohol within a year from the survey date. While the survey shows that overall underage drinking in Illinois is down compared to past years, Illinois teens are more likely to consume alcohol compared to their national counterparts. In Illinois, 14.9 percent of 8th graders reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to 10.2 percent of 8th graders nationwide. Similarly, 44.4 percent of Illinois 12th graders report consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to a national 39.2 percent. Underage drinking advocates are optimistic, however, as the results show underage drinking in Illinois is declining, and binge drinking among teens is down as well.

Underage Drinking Has Consequences Illinois advocates are calling for parents to educate their children on the consequences of underage drinking. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, underage drinkers tend to struggle with school, and are at risk for health problems such as depression. Teens who drink may find their educational growth slowed, as adolescent drinkers tend to face difficulty with information retention, memory, and vocabulary. Additionally, alcohol can impact a teen’s sleep cycle which not only makes education difficult, but can upset the release of hormones needed for maturation and growth. Underage drinking can carry a lifetime of consequences, as studies show those who start consuming alcohol prior to age 15 are five times more likely to develop drinking problems and alcohol addiction compared to those who start drinking at or after turning 21. On top of the many potential health consequences associated with drinking underage, Illinois holds a “Zero Tolerance” policy towards underage drinking. The possession or consumption of alcohol by an underage individual could result in a Class A Misdemeanor with potential fines of up to $2,500, possible jail time, and a driver's license suspension. Those charged with providing alcohol to minors face jail time, a misdemeanor, and a minimum fine of $500.

If you or your child is facing charges related to underage drinking, you need the help of an experienced Chicago area criminal defense attorney. Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel and his team have years of experience handling a variety of criminal cases, and are here to assist you today. Call 312-629-0669 today to learn more about the options available to you.


solitary confinement, Illinois policy, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWith a new policy in place aimed at improving the rehabilitative success of its juvenile system, Illinois has become the 20th state in the country to end the practice of solitary confinement for inmates of juvenile facilities. The policy was the result of a settlement in lawsuit filed against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which sought to improve the conditions and practices regarding juvenile inmates.

The original lawsuit, R.J. v. Jones, was a class-action suit filed in 2012 by the ACLU on behalf of five juvenile inmates against the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ). The suit claimed that the IDJJ failed to provide appropriate mental health and educational services to those incarcerated in juvenile facilities. It also maintained that inmates were subjected to solitary confinement and violent conditions within the facilities.

Rather than pursue the case in litigation, the IDJJ and the ACLU worked together in negotiating a settlement to improve conditions and fix a number of the problems addressed in the lawsuit. The settlement was approved in April by Federal District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly and the resulting policy will affect all six juvenile facilities in the state.

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