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Know the possible consequences of underage DUI

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving Defense |

Being accused of driving under the influence in Illinois can be problematic in many ways regardless of the person’s age. However, the allegations can be more challenging for those who are under 21.

With the holiday season approaching and people attending parties, gatherings and events, there will likely be alcohol and other intoxicating substances available. Underage drivers could find themselves confronted with DUI allegations. Knowing the basics of these charges, how evidence is accrued and what defense options are available is key to try and reach a positive outcome.

Zero Tolerance for underage DUI

Since people need to be 21 to legally consume alcohol, there is what is called “Zero Tolerance” in the state. If a driver under 21 has a blood alcohol concentration even in a minimal amount, they will be charged with DUI under this policy. Their driver’s license will immediately be suspended for three months.

If they refuse to take a test when asked to do so be a law enforcement officer, the suspension will be for six months. A second underage DUI offense will lead to a one-year suspension. Refusal will result in two years.

Upon a conviction, the driver’s license will be suspended for at least two years. They can be incarcerated for up to one year with a fine of up to $2,500. The second conviction will spark a five-year driver’s license suspension if it happens within 20 years of the first. They can be imprisoned for five days or have 240 hours of community service. The fine can be for up to $2,500. The penalties escalate to felony level for a third underage DUI.

In addition, there might be acts that contributed to acquiring the alcohol and can result in charges. If the person had a fake ID to show they were 21 when they were not, it can be the catalyst for a driver’s license suspension.

A DUI defense is possible regardless of the driver’s age

Just as a person who is legally allowed to drink alcohol can forge a DUI defense, the same is true for those under 21 charged under Zero Tolerance. This is imperative because an underage driver who is convicted of DUI can face the above penalties along with issues with school and getting certain types of employment. It is vital to know what can be done to address the charges effectively and avoid the worst-case scenario.