Parental Liability for College Children During the Summer

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When children come home from college for the summer they are usually stuck between the teenager they were and the independent young adult they have become while living on their own. Many students feel they can live a lifestyle without rules while they are at college. Additionally, many college students tend to participate in risky activities while at school including drinking alcohol.

Illinois Underage Drinking and College Students

Even though drinking may be socially acceptable in college, it does not mean that it is legal if the student is still under 21 years of age. As a parent of a college student home for the summer you still have a responsibility to watch over your child to ensure that neither of you get caught up in the law and face criminal charges.

In Illinois, underage drinkers violate the law when they engage in any of the following behaviors:

  • Drink alcohol
  • Possess alcohol on a public street or in a public place
  • Lie about their age to obtain alcohol
  • Occupy a residence and knowingly let someone under 21 possess alcohol
  • Carry, make, obtain or copy a false driver’s license or ID card
  • Operate any motor vehicle with alcohol in their system

Illinois Social Host Law and College Students

While your college student is back under your roof it is important that you monitor his or her behavior at your home to help protect yourself and your property. Illinois enacted a law that took effect on January 1, 2013, which holds homeowners responsible for underage drinking on their property. The Illinois Social Host Law (235 ILCS 5/6-16(c)) states that individuals can be arrested and face criminal charges for allowing or permitting individuals under the age of 21 to drink alcohol at their residence or on their property. This applies even if the individual did not directly supply or provide the underage person with alcohol.

Additionally, even college students over the age of 21 who host social events or parties are expected to monitor their parties and make sure that underage individuals are not drinking in their residence, room or property. This law affects students and individuals who own, rent or lease their residence.

Any individual whether a parent, college student, etc. who violates this law faces the following possible consequences:

  • Can be arrested and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Minimum fine of $500
  • Can be charged with a Class 4 Felony if the violation directly or indirectly results in great bodily harm or death to any person. According to Illinois law, penalties for a Class 4 Felony may include: Incarceration for 1-3 years and/or fines of up to $25,000

Protect Yourself and Child During College Breaks

The best way to prevent a run in with the law while your college student is home for summer is to plan ahead and engage in effective communication regarding your expectations.

Set Ground Rules

When your child enters college they are forced to live in an adult world with adult rules. When your son or daughter comes home for break, they may still think they can live according to these same expectations under your roof. Plan a time to sit down with your college student to communicate your concerns, adult to adult. It is crucial to discuss living arrangements and other issues together as responsible adults.

Enforce a Curfew

It is appropriate to expect your child to be home at a reasonable time while they are living under your roof, especially if they are under the age of 18. According to Illinois Law (720 ILCS 555/1) anyone under the age of 17 is not allowed to be on the streets or in public places unless accompanied by an adult between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday. It is important to keep in mind that some towns may enforce their own curfews and rules for minors. You can use the law as a guideline to set a suitable curfew for your older college student.

Establish Some Responsibilities

Help your college student feel like an adult by entrusting them with some personal or household responsibilities. Whether this includes taking care of their own finances, paying bills or participating in weekly tasks, these mature responsibilities will help you maintain an adult relationship with them.

Regulate Visitors in Your Home

You have every right to monitor who comes in and out of your home at all times. If you will be away for any period of time, enlist a neighbor, friend or family member to look after your house. If you son or daughter decides to throw a party when you are not home you can still take on the liability from any criminal activity or incidents that occur.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

You can try your hardest to keep your child safe and out of trouble, but at the end of the day as an adult they have to make their own decisions. If you or your college student has been faced with criminal charges relating to underage drinking or any other criminal matter contact Glasgow & Olsson today. The experienced Illinois criminal attorneys can assist you with your legal questions and provide effective, aggressive representation. Call 847-577-8700 or fill out the online contact form.