It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to transfer, possess or consume alcoholic liquor in the state of Illinois with a few exceptions. New laws effective January 1, 2016 are designed to create immunity for teenagers, college students and young adults who are under the influence of alcohol, but called the police to get medical attention for a friend or avoid an otherwise dangerous situation.
Pursuant to 235 ILCS 5/6-20 entitled Transfer, possession and consumption of alcoholic liquor;
(d) No person shall purchase, accept delivery or have possession of alcoholic liquor in violation of this Section; or
(e) The consumption of alcoholic liquor by any person under 21 years of age is forbidden.
235 ILCS 5/6-20
Transferring, accepting delivery or possessing an alcoholic beverage is a Class A Misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
However, as of January 1, 2016, a law enforcement officer may not charge or otherwise take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense that involves alcohol and violates subsection (d) or (e) of this Section if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply:
(1) The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because that person either:
(A) requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; or
(B) acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; however, the provisions of this subparagraph (B) shall not apply to more than 3 persons acting in concert for any one occurrence.
(2) The person described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection (i):
(A) provided his or her full name and any other relevant information requested by the law enforcement officer;
(B) remained at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption until emergency medical assistance personnel arrived; and
(C) cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel and law enforcement officers at the scene.
(j) A person who meets the criteria of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (i) of this Section shall be immune from criminal liability for an offense under subsection (d) or (e) of this Section.