Drinking in Public in Chicago

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Drinking in Public in Chicago

Summer in Chicago provides residents with many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors before we are forced inside for another winter. It also provides Chicago Police with many opportunities to write citations for residents drinking alcohol in public. Drinking in public may also lead to other incidents for which citations can be issued like Public Urination.

Drinking in Public Ways

Chicago statute 8-4-030 states that “[it] shall be unlawful for any person to drink any alcoholic liquor as defined by law on any public way or in or about any motor vehicle upon a public way in the city.” Public ways include sidewalks, roads, streets, alleys, or any similar public routes that cars or pedestrians use. Though the consumption of alcohol during a street festival is legal, vendors must receive permits to sell it and it is still illegal to bring your own alcohol into these festivals.

The same statute also states that “It shall be unlawful for any person to transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor in or upon or about any motor vehicle upon any public way in the city except: (1) in the original package and with the seal unbroken, or (2) in a package properly sealed, bagged and receipted.” This is why if you leave a restaurant with a half a bottle of wine, they must seal it to show that no wine was consumed after leaving the premises.

Alcohol on Park District Property

It is against Chicago Park District code to consume alcohol on Park District property. The code states “No alcoholic beverages shall be sold, brought within, given away, delivered or consumed on park property, except pursuant to permits or concessions issued pursuant to this Code.” This includes carrying open alcohol into Movies in the Park events, the Taste of Chicago, or any public park like Humboldt Park, Lincoln Park, the Lakefront Trail, or the 606 Trail.

In some cases, exceptions apply. For instance, alcohol is permitted in Millennium Park for concerts. But residents should look this information up ahead of time to see what is permitted in the parks.

Penalties for Drinking in Public

Individuals can face fines between $100 and $500, or time in jail for drinking in the public way. This fine may go up to $1,000 if the incident occurs within 800 feet of a parade route.

Defense Strategies

An experienced attorney will review the details of your case to craft a defense. They may question the legality of any searches made by police officers, or ask the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone who was walking near a park showing a movie with a bottle of wine in their purse was indeed going to open it.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one are issued a citation for Drinking in the Public Way or Drinking on Park District Property, we urge you to speak to an experienced defense attorney. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.