Park Ridge adopts new underage drinking penalties
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:22AM
PARK RIDGE — An arrest for underage drinking or drug use in Park Ridge will mean stiffer penalties for those who choose not attend a substance abuse assessment and counseling program.
The Park Ridge City Council on Sept. 17 approved new penalties following a six-month process that included input and recommendations from the Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation and the Park Ridge Community Health Commission. Third Ward Alderman Jim Smith voted against the ordinance changes.
The penalties will affect anyone under 21 who is issued a local ordinance citation for underage drinking, possession of drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia.
Those choosing to plead guilty or no contest before the city’s adjudication officer will have three options: pay a $1,000 fine — up from $500 — plus $40 in court costs and have the conviction, if alcohol-related, reported to the Secretary of State’s Office; pay a $100 fine plus court costs and attend and complete a drug/alcohol assessment and all recommended education and treatment programs; or contest the charge.
A guilty ruling by the hearing officer would result in a $1,000 fine, court costs and a report to the Secretary of State if the conviction involved alcohol.
The city will offer a choice between four assessment programs: Maine Center in Park Ridge, F.A.I.R in Schaumburg, Omni Youth Services in Buffalo Grove and PEER Services in Glenview. College students or anyone living outside the Chicago area will be able to complete an assessment program where they reside.
The goal of the new penalties, according to Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski and other supporters, is to encourage more teens and young adults to enroll in a program that could identify an alcohol or drug problem and help the individual address it before it becomes a greater issue.
The thought is that a $1,000 fine and the potential of losing one’s driver’s license will be an incentive to enroll in an assessment program.
The city will no longer offer a fine and community service hours as an option.