“Unofficial” St. Patrick’s Day has become an iconic celebration at the University of Illinois. While we encourage everyone to celebrate the holiday that only our campus can claim, please remember these tips to keep Friday a safe & trouble free day. A big thanks to the Illinois Panhellenic Council and The Illinois Liquor Control Commission for making these stats available to students. And, to make this post a little less depressing, enjoy our favorite staff photos from past Unofficials!
Hang out over balconies: This is self-explanatory safety precaution. Not only is it dangerous to be drinking on a balcony, police will be all over the streets of Champaign-Urbana patrolling to find rowdy parties.
Jaywalk: Jaywalking is a ticket any day of the week, so don’t do it drunk on Unofficial.If you jaywalk, a police officer will probably assume you’re intoxicated. If you’re intoxicated (regardless of your age) you will get in trouble. Drinking tickets in Champaign are over $300.
Carry open containers of alcohol: We all know this is an absolute bad idea if you are in a car, but you could also have the same consequences if you are walking down the street with a red Solo cup. And if you’re under the age of 21, receiving a drinking citation can automatically result in losing your driver’s license under Illinois’s Zero Tolerance policy. Open container tickets are $165.
Go to class drunk and rowdy: I get it, you’re excited you’re a college student and you feel invincible — you aren’t. The University does not condone Unofficial and will not tolerate intoxicated students in class. If you really can’t wait to grab a green beer until after class, I suggest you skip it to avoid any trouble.
Use a Fake ID to get into the bars:It’s a curse and a blessing for the underage students at Illinois — you get to go to the bars at 19 but run the risk of a $300 ticket every time you step out for a night on the town. All bars on campus are 21+ Unofficial weekend. Police patrol the bars constantly checking for ID’s and if you hand over a fake ID in the state of Illinois you can be convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, which leads to serious fines and losing your license.
The Consequences (from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission):
Using a Fake ID
Your driving privileges can be suspended for up to one year. You can be convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
Allowing underage drinking to occur in private residence
Knowingly allowing persons under the age of 21 to consume alcohol at a private residence is subject to a maximum $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail. If serious injury or death occurs, parent/legal guardian is subject to a Class 4 felony (up to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000).
Possession, consumption, purchase or receipt of alcohol by an individual under the age of 21
3-month suspension of driving privileges for court supervision, 6 mos. for first conviction, 1 year for second conviction and license revocation for subsequent convictions.
Illegal transportation of alcohol in an automobile by an individual under the age of 21
Transporting alcohol is illegal, and anyone in the vehicle can be charged with a maximum $1,000 fine. For the driver, the penalty is mandatory driver’s license suspension for one year on the first offense.
Keep an eye on your friends: If you’re not already doing this every time you go out with your girlfriends, Friday is a good day to start. If you’re friend is acting out of control or seems to have drank too much, do not hesitate to call 911.
· 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes
· 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking
· 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence
Drink responsibly: Not everyone chooses to partake in the drinking portion of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day but if you do, please do it responsibly! With thousands of visitors flocking to our campus, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and coherent in case you’re in a dangerous situation.
For more information on the consequences of underage drinking in Illinois, visit: http://www.dontbesorry.org