Chicago Underage & Student Crimes Lawyer

With numerous colleges and universities in the Chicago metropolitan area, it’s inevitable that college students will run afoul of the law. College is a time when young adults often are living on their own for the first time and getting their first taste of adult responsibilities and adult freedoms.

Along with those freedoms often comes a testing of boundaries, and college students in their late teens or early 20s don’t always have a clear sense of when they might be crossing a line in the pursuit of fun. They’re learning how to be adults — and part of that process may involve making mistakes that can result in criminal charges.

Perhaps the most common offenses that land college students in courtrooms in Chicago and the surrounding areas involve alcohol. Even though many college students haven’t yet reached the age when they can legally drink, alcohol is everywhere. College campuses tend to be surrounded by bars where students under 21 may use false identification to get through the front door and to get served beverages they shouldn’t be consuming.

Even if they’re not frequenting bars, students may attend parties where alcohol is served and no one is checking ID to determine if people consuming alcohol are of legal drinking age. It can be easy to wander into an off-campus house party and fill a plastic cup from a keg with no one the wiser — until the police show up and start making arrests.

When a student faces a criminal charge, the help of an experienced Chicago underage and student crimes lawyer may be critical to avoiding a guilty finding and preserving the student’s future.

Consequences of Underage & Student Crimes

A criminal offense such as underage drinking or using a false identification to obtain alcohol can have serious consequences for a student that may include:

  • Having to serve time in jail
  • Payment of fines and fees
  • A permanent criminal record that affects the student’s job and career prospects
  • Suspension of the student’s driver’s license

However, when a college student is charged with a crime, especially one involving alcohol, he or she faces not only possible criminal consequences but also disciplinary action from the school that can affect the student’s education and progress toward his or her degree.

Many local universities such as Northwestern University, DePaul University, the University of Chicago, or Loyola University Chicago have their own policies about alcohol use on campus or even off-campus by students who are underage. Being found guilty of a criminal alcohol offense also may lead to consequences from the school that may include:

  • Suspension
  • Loss of scholarships or financial aid

These types of consequences can be devastating for a student, particularly when it delays or disrupts the student’s progress toward his or her degree. In an economy in which a college degree is required for the vast majority of jobs, a mistake or one instance of poor judgment can jeopardize a student’s entire future.

With the help of a good Chicago underage and student crimes lawyer, you — or your son or daughter — may be able to avoid or minimize the life-altering consequences of a criminal offense.

Common Underage and Student Offenses

Like any other adult, a college student can be accused of any number of criminal offenses. However, certain types of offenses tend to be the most common on and around college campuses. Those include:

  • Underage Possession of Alcohol — It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to drink, possess, or receive alcohol. A conviction can result in up to 1 year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Learn more about the consequences of an underage drinking offense and how an Illinois criminal defense lawyer can help.
  • Possession of a Fake ID — It’s illegal in Illinois to obtain, use, possess, or distribute a false identification card or driver’s license, or to use someone else’s ID. A first offense is a misdemeanor, but a subsequent offense can be a felony. It’s also a felony to possess a fraudulent Illinois driver’s license or to possess the equipment to make a fraudulent license. Learn more about Illinois laws involving the use and possession of fake IDs and the possible consequences.

Contact a Dedicated Chicago Underage and Student Crimes Lawyer

As a college student or a parent, a criminal charge for an offense such as underage drinking or possession of a false identification card can create a lot of stress and uncertainty. You’re likely worried about how this charge will affect your future or your child’s future and whether he or she will be able to finish school.

Michael O’Meara is a Chicago criminal defense attorney who understands how devastating a criminal offense can be for a young adult. That’s why he’ll do everything he can to obtain the best possible outcome for you if you’re a student facing a criminal charge, or for your child if you’re the parent of a student.

O’Meara is a skilled attorney who has a history of more than a decade of criminal defense experience and several years of experience as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney. He has a thorough understanding of Illinois criminal laws and all facets of the criminal process in Chicago and the surrounding area that enables him to achieve successful results for people charged with crimes.

Call O’Meara Law LLC today at to learn how he can help you.