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Illinois Zero Tolerance Law

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

When a driver under the age of 21 consumes any amount of alcohol they can be cited for violating the Illinois zero tolerance law. When an individual violates the zero-tolerance law which prohibits underage drinking it is not a criminal violation unless they are charges. They can face several charges, two of them being illegal transportation of alcohol or possession of alcohol by a minor.

According to the Mothers against Drunk Driving Organization, the 1984 National Uniform Drinking Age Act requires that all states in the US adopt a minimum legal drinking age of 21 years. This means that not only can individuals under the age of 21 consume alcohol but if they drink and drive they will suffer the consequences.

If a police officer has reason to believe that an individual under the age of 21 has had any consumption of alcohol they may require that the driver submits to a blood test. Other tests that they can ask for are either urine or breathe tests. If a person shows results of a blood alcohol concentration higher than .00 or if they refuse to take the test and they are charged a license suspension can follow.

Most individual who are facing charges under the zero tolerance law prefer to hire the services of a criminal attorney to help prove their innocence or help them get favorable terms depending on their case.

Penalty for Violating the Zero Tolerance Law

There are different laws and penalties that are associated with the zero-tolerance law.  The zero-tolerance law in Illinois specifically addresses drivers who are under the age of 21.

A driver under the age of 21 will fail the test when they have a blood-alcohol concentration reading higher than .oo%.  Here are some of the penalties that they are likely to receive if the blood-alcohol concentration evidence is admissible in court.

The Penalties While They are Driving

If it's the first time for an under 21 driver to consume an alcoholic beverage and drive they will get a three-month suspension. Second-time offenders will face zero-tolerance license suspension for a period of one year.

Zero-tolerance suspensions and penalties are harsher if the minor driver or driver under age had refused to submit to a chemical test request and are convicted of driving under influence under the zero-tolerance law. As first-time violators, they will have their driving privileges suspended for six months. As a second-time offender, you will get a two-year suspension on your driving license and it will not be reinstated until the applicable reinstatement fees are paid to the secretary of state office.

There are other additional penalties that they may have to bear depending on the severity of the driver's blood-alcohol concentration level during alcohol testing or if they are first-time offenders or have violated the same law again.

A restrictive driving permit allows the driver to drive for school, medical appointments, or employment.  After the zero-tolerance charge, they can obtain the permit in a period of 30 days or 12 months if they are previous offenders or if they refused to undergo chemical testing.

Illinois Zero Tolerance Law

A driver who is under age will get a statutory summary suspension if they take a chemical test and it discloses one of several things.

  • The blood-analysis test results .08% or higher
  • If any trace of alcohol or controlled substance is found in their blood, urine, or other bodily substance

If an underage offender does not have a previous DUI conviction or if in the last 5 years they have not had a statutory summary suspension their driving license will face a six-month suspension. If they refuse to take the chemical test they will face a one-year suspension. 

There are instances where the underage offender who has been stripped of their driving license will be issued with a monitoring device driving permit. Even so, if underage drivers refuse to take a chemical test they are not eligible for an MDDP.

Other Penalties

When underage drivers are convicted for a traffic violation or are involved in an alcohol-related accident they may face special penalties that are additional to the penalties that they are already facing. For example:

  • For a Class A misdemeanor which is a first DUI conviction they can get 364 days in jail and a fine of $2500
  • If they had a passenger who was under the age of 16 in the vehicle they can get 6 months in jail and a minimum fine of $1000 and 25 days in a community program meant to benefit kids
  • Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program
  • Alcohol/drug evaluation and any other recommended treatment

The consequences will be severe if they are involved in auto accidents and there is proof of that in an accident investigation report and other evidence presented in court.

What Is The Meaning Of Zero Alcohol Tolerance?

The zero-tolerance laws are laws that make it illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to drive without the consumption of alcohol in their body system. The penalties given if an individual is convicted will depend on the different state laws. Roughly 40% of Americans will likely be involved in a crash at a certain point in their life that is related to driving while being intoxicated. Underage drunk drivers will account for a majority of individuals who will cause the accidents that is according to the Illinois state police officer.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test If You are Under The Age of 21?

Illinois is referred to as an implied consent state. That means that while driving in Illinois you are giving your consent to take a breath analysis test.  Even as this is the case it does not mean that the choice to take the breath-analysis test has been taken away from you. The police officer should not force you to take the test while at the station or by the road.

It is important to note that when you refuse a breath test a police officer in Illinois can as the judge to issue them a warrant to take your blood and test it. Should you refuse to take the blood test? Every case is unique and depending on the circumstances surrounding the case the course of action would be different. 

If you or someone you know has been arrested by a law enforcement officer and is facing charges for drinking under the Illinois zero-tolerance law you should get a qualified person to help you through it. You can call our Dohman Law Group firm we have qualified Rolling Meadows DUI lawyers who can give you more information about alcohol-related offenses.

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