Illinois has recently passed a new law that may assist in battling the monumental issues surrounding underage drinking fatalities and tragedies in the state. Under the new law, Illinois HB- 1336, establishes immunity from underage drinking charges in certain circumstances. This new law may assist attorneys in cases where an intoxicated teen called 911 for a peer also under the influence of alcohol.
Prohibits a law enforcement officer from charging or taking an individual into custody who is under 21 years of age for the possession or consumption of alcohol if the officer “reasonably” believes that all of the following circumstances apply (Sec. 5):
Thus the Illinois law, passed by Governor Bruce Rauner, grants immunity to underage drinkers that call 911 for medical assistance. Specifically, and perhaps most importantly, the law grants immunity for both the teenage caller who may have been partaking in underage drinking as well as the intoxicated victim.
Considering an underaged drinker may be afraid of the consequences when deciding to seek medical assistance for a friend, where minutes or even seconds count, this law may give teens the courage to pick up the phone and call for help. For a teen to weigh the balance between getting into trouble with the perceived monolithic authority hovering over or saving a friends life, HB-1336 may serve as a much needed bridge to curtail the senseless tragedies that often result from such illegal activity.
The incredible cost of underage drinking in Illinois suggests that a softer and smarter approach may be a wiser course of action. From fatalities, car accidents, hospital visits, to legal fees you name it; underage drinking appears to reach all corners of the modern teenager’s life. According to The Daily Illini, underage drinking cost Illnois a reported 2.8 billion dollars just in 2013 alone.
To say the past heavy-handed approach with underage drinkers is not the best course of action may be an understatement. Mimicking the approach taken with heroin users who call for medical assistance in cases of a potential overdose and are granted immunity, this law seeks to make a clear hierarchy between wanting to enforce punishment and wanting to save young lives.
Enacting legislation to quell the fearful teen’s worries and save lives appears to be a trend not just in Illinois but in many states across the nation.
Many states have passed these so called 911 lifeline legislation, which offers some form of immunity to those who call for assistance to aid those under the influence of alcohol and/or an illegal substance. Illinois joins a long list of states such as Texas, Vermont, Georgia, Indiana, Washington, Colorado etc, who have passed their own version of the bill.
Encouraged to Seek Medical Assistance
An underager drinker who is too afraid to call 911 may deprive an intoxicated friend of live-saving resources. Too often the only lifeline that a fellow intoxicated teen in danger has is actually another, perhaps less intoxicated peer who knows they need help yet is too fearful to seek assistance. Some may feel that the Governor’s approach is soft on crime, however public policy must first work to preserve an underaged life endangered by alcohol poisoning over the traditional approach of punishment of a teen engaging in such activity. Life saving laws such as HB- 1336, may provide lawyers with new avenues of potential guidance for such intoxication cases with similar circumstances. Where seconds count, this granted immunity can truly assist in removing a teen’s hesitation of the “book being thrown” at him/her and save a life of a fellow teen too intoxicated to help him or herself.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime that you did not commit, there may yet be hope in the form of either a written brief or compelling oral argument before the court. No matter the original charge, call the criminal appeals attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.