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Penalties for Underage DUI in Illinois

Updated on March 31, 2023 → Under

If you are under the age of 21 and have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Illinois, it is important to understand the negative consequences that this underage charge can have on your life. An underage DUI charge can result in serious penalties, including fines, license suspension or revocation, community service, and even jail time.

If you or a loved one have been charged with an underage DUI in Illinois, our experienced attorneys at Dohman Law are here to help. Our team of dedicated DUI attorneys understands the severity of this charge and will provide the best possible defense for your case.

Contact our firm at 847-359-4005 and we can explain all of your options and potential consequences so that you can make the most informed decision about how to proceed.

Underage DUI Laws and Penalties in Illinois

Underage DUI is a severe offense in the state of Illinois. The Zero Tolerance Law establishes that individuals under the age of 21 may not operate a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in their body. Even if minors, or legal adults under the age of 21 are not blatantly intoxicated, chemical tests can be used to detect a slight presence of alcohol from recent consumption and they can still be cited for driving under the influence.

Furthermore, any driver who is suspected to be driving under the influence and refuses to submit to chemical testing will also have their driving privileges suspended.

3 glasses of alcohol in front of a black backkground

Illinois has some of the most severe repercussions for underage DUI offenses compared to other states. Individuals convicted of such an offense will lose their driving privileges for three months as punishment; this is regardless of whether any alcohol was actually detected after chemical testing.

In addition to license suspensions and/or revocations, underage DUI convictions result in other possible penalties such as hefty fines and spending time in jail. Penalties may also be increased depending on other factors like how high the driver’s blood alcohol content was or if they caused an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Penalties for Underage Chemical Test Refusal

Drivers in Illinois have an obligation to submit to a chemical test if they are arrested for DUI, even if the driver hasn't consumed any alcohol. This is because of the state’s implied consent law, which all drivers must abide by.

If a driver under 21 refuses to take a breath or blood test, then he or she will be subject to an automatic six-month suspension of their driving privileges, regardless of whether or not they had actually been drinking. A second incident within five years carries with it a much stiffer penalty, with a two-year suspension of driving privileges.

DUI penalties can have long-lasting consequences on young drivers’ lives and their ability to go about life as usual. In addition to being unable to drive legally while serving the suspension, this type of violation may also show up on background checks during college applications and job interviews. It’s important for youth in Illinois to understand these consequences before making any decisions about compliance with chemical tests after arrests for DUI.

Underage Driving & Zero Tolerance Law

Illinois has a strict policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Under the zero-tolerance policy, drivers under the legal drinking age (21) who are caught with any trace of alcohol in their system will lose their driving privileges.

This includes situations where drivers are pulled over during routine traffic stops or receive traffic citations. If law enforcement officer believes that an underage driver has alcohol in their system, they may request a chemical test.

What is the Penalty for Violating the Zero Tolerance Law?

For minors, a zero-tolerance violation is taken very seriously by legal authorities. Those found to have violated the policy can face significant penalties that vary depending on whether or not the minor has a previous zero-tolerance violation and if they refused the blood alcohol test.

A minor who fails to provide a sample for testing will receive harsher penalties than those who have lower levels of alcohol in their system – usually a six-month license suspension of driving privileges as opposed to a three-month suspension of driving privileges for having more than 0.00 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).

a shot glass and car key on a black backdrop

It is possible though, under some circumstances, for eligible persons to apply for a restricted driving permit which would allow them to drive before their license suspension has ended - this has a high chance of approval if their blood alcohol level was below 0.08, which is the legal drinking limit for adults above 21 years old. 

How to Get Out of Underage DUI

There are potential defenses available to those accused of an underage DUI. If law enforcement does not conduct a proper traffic stop or requests unnecessary testing, this can serve as a valid defense in court. For example, if the police officer lacked reasonable cause or did not follow protocol when determining the presence of alcohol, this could be used to challenge any evidence presented against you by the prosecution.

Additionally, a qualified underage DUI attorney could also challenge the accuracy and reliability of a field sobriety test or chemical test that was done on behalf of law enforcement which could help reduce your charges or have them dropped altogether.

Dohman Law is Here to Help, Call Today!

If you or someone you know has been charged with underage DUI in Illinois, it’s important to understand the legal implications. Illinois takes DUI very seriously and those found guilty can face serious consequences. The criminal penalties for an underage DUI conviction include jail time, fines, and license revocation. In Illinois, individuals who are convicted of an underage DUI face a variety of penalties that can greatly affect their future.

Call Dohman Law today at 847-359-4005 to get a free consultation with an experienced underage drinking defense lawyer. We specialize in underage DUI cases and our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help you fight against severe penalties for those under the legal drinking age. 

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