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New Law Provides Immunity to Underage Drinkers in Emergencies

Posted on in Underage Drinking

911 Law, underage drinking, Lake County criminal defense attorneyFor several years, the state of Illinois has granted immunity from criminal prosecution to individuals who call 911 for another person in danger of overdosing on heroin or other dangerous drugs. Lawmakers and proponents of so-called “Good Samaritan” laws believe that by offering immunity, a person with the ability to take action and save a life is more likely to do so if they are not in fear of criminal repercussions. Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature took the concept a step further, approving a measure that would offer similar protections to underage drinkers seeking emergency medical assistance.

Responding to the Dangers

The new law, set to take effect January 1, 2016, was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in late August. Supporters of the bill believe that those in a position to help are often paralyzed by the thought of getting in trouble with the law themselves. House sponsor Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood cited a particular example from within his district. “People were reluctant to call for help, but someone did,” he said. “And then both the teenager and the friend who called ended up getting citation for the situation.” Similar amnesty laws have been put into place in various places around the country, including many college campuses, and surveys indicate they are having desired effect.

Limited Immunity

Under the new statute, immunity from criminal prosecution is granted only the person in need of medical assistance and those calling on the person’s behalf. Underage drinkers would not be able to claim the need for medial help should law enforcement arrive, for example, due to a noise complaint or unrelated report of underage drinking. All involved parties must fully cooperate with law enforcement or medical personnel or risk having the immunity revoked.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

In the state of Illinois, a single underage drinking violation can have a serious impact on a young person’s life. A first-time offender is subject to a three-month suspension of driving privileges if he or she is assigned to court supervision, and a six-month suspension for a first conviction. A second conviction results in a one-year suspension, and the full revocation of driving privileges for a third or subsequent conviction.

If your child has been charged with underage drinking, you need an attorney who is prepared work hard for you and your family. Contact an experienced Lake County today criminal defense lawyer to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case. Let us provide you with the professional representation you deserve during a difficult time.





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