New law takes effect in 2013 bringing bigger penalties to hosts of underage drinking parties
SPRINGFIELD —As the clock strikes midnight this coming New Year, the important role adults play in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our children will be further defined, when new sanctions take effect on those allowing underage drinking in their home.
Sponsored by State Representative Carol Sente and State Senator Susan Garrett, the new legislation closes a loophole of legal accountability on those who knowingly allow alcohol consumption by minors.
"By protecting our youth, we protect our future," says Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who signed Public Act 97-1049 into law on Aug. 22, 2012. "Adults know it is unacceptable to allow underage drinking in their home. By putting a social host law on the books, we are sending a strong message to all adults that they will be held responsible when allowing this harmful activity."
Violators of the social host law, which takes effect on Jan.1, 2013, will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not less than $500 when they knowingly authorize or permit underage drinking in their home.
If this activity results in great bodily harm or death to any person, the individual is subject to a Class 4 felony.
However, a person will not be in violation if he or she has taken all reasonable steps to prevent this activity from occurring. Also, no charges will be filed if assistance is requested from law enforcement after discovery of the illegal activity.
"Statistics show that friends and family remain the primary source of alcohol for underage drinking," says Illinois Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Gloria L. Materre. "Just as our liquor licensees are punished when selling to minors, all adults will now be subject to penalties should they provide alcohol to minors."
Mundelein Police Chief and Lake County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force Co-Chair Ray Rose, who was instrumental in creating the law, noted that, "For the past four years, the LCUDP has played a lead role in encouraging communities throughout the state to pass social host ordinances. By signing this law, Gov. Quinn demonstrates his commitment to protecting the future of all Illinois children."