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What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction for a Driver Under 21 in Illinois?

 Posted on June 27, 2019 in DUI

Joliet DUI Defense AttorneyEvery year in Illinois, hundreds of people die as a result of drinking and/or drugged driving. Hundreds more are seriously injured or permanently disabled. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in the state of Illinois, and the penalties for it are steep. Drivers under the age of 21 only make up 10 percent of licensed drivers, but they are involved in 17 percent of alcohol-related fatal crashes.

Even though the legal drinking age is 21 in Illinois, many people drink before their 21st birthday. Some people may think this is harmless, but when a teenager chooses to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, it can result in devastating injuries or even death, not only for him or her, but for other drivers on the road as well. Consequently, someone stopped for a suspected DUI who is also under 21 can face severe legal penalties that can have lasting effects.   

DUI Penalties for Drivers Under 21

Illinois law prohibits a person under age 21 from purchasing, accepting, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. Any person under 21 years of age with any trace of alcohol in his or her system will automatically lose his or her driving privileges based on the “zero tolerance” policy. The Zero Tolerance Law for Illinois also applies to drivers who are under 21 years old. Apart from the revocation of their driving privileges, penalties can include imprisonment or steep fines. The consequences of drinking and driving can also impact other areas of someone’s life, such as increased insurance rates, court-ordered alcohol treatment programs, and a negative driving record.

A police officer can request a test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when the officer has probable cause to believe a motorist under who is under 21 has been drinking. After administering the tests, the officer must submit a sworn statement to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, resulting in the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license.

If the driver’s BAC is 0.08 or higher, he or she can be charged with a DUI. He or she may also be charged if his or her BAC is higher than 0.05 percent but other evidence proves additional impairment. The driver could also be charged if there are any illegal drugs found in his or her system. Penalties vary depending on the number of offenses: 

  • First DUI Conviction: At least a two-year loss of driving privileges, plus possible jail time for up to one year and a $2,500 fine.
  • Second DUI Conviction: At least a five-year loss of driving privileges, plus mandatory five days in jail or 240 hours community service, and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Third DUI Conviction: Minimum 10-year loss of driving privileges, plus mandatory 18- to 30-month periodic jail time, with possible imprisonment for seven years, and a fine up to $25,000.

There are several other considerations that could apply when a driver under the age of 21 is convicted of DUI, including:

  • Restricted Driving Permit: A Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) allows driving if a hardship can be proven. However, the offender is not eligible for RDP until after the first year of the license revocation period. This includes driving to work, so offenders may have to find other transportation to get to their jobs. 
  • Ignition Interlock Device: A person under the age of 18 may be ineligible for an IID and instead be required to attend classes and retesting in order to reinstate driving privileges.
  • Counseling: The Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program may be mandatory for a minor. This program shows the offender what the results of alcoholism or DUI crashes look like.
  • Standard Penalties for DUI: In addition to the above mentioned penalties for an underage DUI, the standard penalties for DUI offenders who are over 21 years old also apply.

Contact a Will County DUI Defense Lawyer

DUI charges are serious for anyone, but especially for someone who is under the legal drinking age. If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, you need a strong legal defense. The tenacious law firm of McNamara, Phelan, McSteen, LLC will thoroughly review the circumstances of your case to have the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether. To schedule a free consultation, call an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney today at 815-727-0100. 





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