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Underage DUI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenagers are at a greater risk of alcohol-related deaths and accidents than any other age group. This has led to a zero-tolerance policy in Illinois regarding underage drinking and driving.

In Illinois, it’s illegal for anyone under 21 years to drink. A violation of this law in combination with drunk driving can cause immediate and severe penalties. An underage DUI conviction can become part of your permanent criminal record. If you or a loved one has been charged with underage driving under the influence of alcohol, you must speak with a Chicago DUI lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and driving privileges.

What Happens if You Get a DUI Under 21 in Illinois?

In Illinois, the consumption of alcohol and possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years old is illegal. However, this is subject to a few exemptions. Also, any person younger than 21, who drives a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs, is subject to driver’s license revocation and can be charged with a DUI and other crimes and traffic violations.

According to Illinois’s zero-tolerance law, all underage drivers must consent to chemical testing of blood, breath, urine, and/or other bodily substance if a police officer has probable cause to believe the underage DUI offender is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Any driver under 21 who fails or refuses to take a chemical test risks a zero-tolerance license suspension. For underage drivers, a blood alcohol concentration over 0.00% is considered a failed chemical test.

Thus, if a driver under 21 years old has a blood alcohol content of more than 0.00% and less than 0.08%, the license suspension periods include 3 months, and one year if the underage driver has previously been suspended for failing a chemical test.

A driver younger than 21 years old who refuses to submit to chemical testing is subject to 6 months, and two years of license suspension, if he or she has previously been suspended for refusing a chemical test. 

Underage DUI Chicago

An underage driver who is under 18 years of age must take part in a driver’s education course and retake the driving test to be reissued their driver’s license after a zero-tolerance suspension.

Further, a person under 21 years old who is subject to a zero-tolerance license suspension can get a restricted driving permit after 30 days of the license revocation, or 12 months of suspension if the person has one or more suspensions in the past for failing or refusing chemical testing.

An underage DUI offender who doesn’t have a prior DUI conviction or statutory summary suspension within the last five years is subject to license suspension for six months for a failed chemical test, and one year for refusing to take a chemical test.

If a person younger than 21 has a prior DUI conviction or statutory summary suspension within the last five years, he or she is subject to the following suspension periods:

  • One year for a failed chemical test, and
  • 3 years for refusing to take a test.

Also, all persons under 21 years old whose driving privileges have been suspended must be issued a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP). However, underage drivers aren’t eligible for the permit if:

  • They refused to take a chemical test, or
  • They are under 18 years of age.

A first underage DUI conviction is a class A misdemeanor offense and carries a maximum jail sentence of:

  • One year in jail, and
  • A $2,500 fine.

If the underage driver had a passenger under 16 years old in the vehicle, the judge may impose:

  • 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000, and 
  • 25 days of community service.

Besides the zero-tolerance and statutory summary suspensions mentioned above, a person under 21 years charged with underage drinking and driving will face a license suspension for a period of two years. 

How Long Will a DUI Conviction Stay on Your Driving Record?

Illinois treats DUIs seriously and thus has a zero-tolerance law for DUI convictions. Thus, if you’re convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the DUI conviction will stay on your driving record forever.

Also, in Illinois, whether you were charged with a DUI offense as an adult or even as a minor, you can’t expunge the DUI conviction.

Underage drinking and driving

What are the Underage DUI Laws in Illinois?

  • It’s illegal to sell, serve, deliver or give alcohol to an underage person or an intoxicated person, violating this provision is a class A misdemeanor.
  • Under Illinois underage drinking laws, it’s illegal for a person under 21 years to consume alcohol.
  • Any person under 21 is prohibited from possessing alcoholic drinks on the highway, street, or any public place or in a place open to the public. A violation of this provision is a class A misdemeanor offense, which carries criminal penalties of a minimum $500 fine and, if applicable, additional enhanced penalties because of illegal transportation of open liquor.
  • Under Illinois law, it’s illegal for persons under 21 years to buy, possess, consume, and/or accept gifts of alcoholic beverages, except under direct supervision of their parent (s) in the privacy of their home or during a religious ceremony. A violation of this provision carries criminal penalties, including a minimum fine of $500 and 25 hours of community service, as part of an alcohol abuse prevention program.
  • To curb sales and/or service of alcoholic drinks to persons under 21 years old, an agent or employee can refuse to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to anyone who can’t produce substantial written proof of identity and age.
  • Adequate proof of age and identity of a person in Illinois is a document issued by the municipal, county, state, or federal government, but not limited to a driver’s license, an Armed Services identification card, or selective service card.

If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage DUI in Chicago or any area in Illinois, you must hire an experienced Chicago DUI criminal defense attorney who listens to your side of the story and fight fiercely to protect your rights. An underage DUI criminal offense can cause negative consequences in your life. It can affect your career progression because most employers carry out a background check before hiring. Thus, having a criminal record can ruin your life. However, with a great Rolling Meadows DUI criminal defense lawyer by your side, you may get your charges reduced or even dismissed.

At Dohman Law Group, our Chicago DUI attorneys have decades of experience in DUI defense and we can help you get a favorable outcome. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (847) 616-9993, or chat with us online to learn how we can help. 

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