What Happens if a Person Under 21 is Charged with a DUI in Illinois?

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In the United States alone, approximately one person every 48 minutes dies in a traffic accident involving an intoxicated driver. Illinois has several laws designed to prevent and punish drunk driving. Driving under the influence (DUI) is especially dangerous when the intoxicated driver is underage. Younger adults and teenagers often have less experience with both driving and alcohol. They can easily underestimate their level of intoxication behind the wheel and cause a serious accident. Because of this, Illinois has a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding underage drinking and driving.

Underage Drivers Cannot Have Any Alcohol in Their System While Driving

For drivers under age 21, the so-called “magic number” when it comes to DUI is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). Generally, anyone caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered driving under the influence, though there are certain instances where a lower BAC can also result in a DUI charge.

The law is quite different for underage drivers, however. Under Illinois zero-tolerance law, an underage driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.00 percent will face an immediate license suspension. If it is the underage driver’s first DUI-related offense, their driving privileges will be suspended for three months. A second instance of driving with a BAC over 0.00 percent results in a 1-year suspension of driving privileges. Underage drivers cannot avoid a license suspension by refusing chemical BAC testing such as a Breathalyzer test. Underage drivers who refuse to consent to a BAC test will have their driving privileges revoked for six months for the first refusal and two years for a second offense.

Underage DUI with a BAC Over 0.08 Percent is Penalized More Harshly

Any underage driver can be charged with a DUI if he or she has a BAC of .08 or more. A BAC of 0.05 percent or more is enough to charge an underage driver with a DUI if there is additional evidence of impairment or illegal drugs in his or her system. A driver under age 21 who is convicted of DUI will lose the ability to legally drive for a minimum of two years. A second DUI conviction for someone under age 21 results in a minimum 5-year loss of driving privileges. Additionally, an underage driver convicted of a Class A misdemeanor DUI can face up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Contact a Will County Underage DUI Attorney

If you or your child need a DUI Lawyer in Joliet, Illinois , give us a call at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation. Our team is ready to help you explore your options and to make the best possible decisions about how to move forward with your case.

What Is Scotts Law or the Illinois Move Over Law

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Illinois drivers must start obeying Scott’s Law or face the consequences as the state police step up enforcement of the move-over law. More tickets are expected to be issued this spring and summer due to rising concerns about the safety of state troopers and other emergency services personnel when working roadside traffic stops and accident scenes.

In the first few months of 2019, a record number of state troopers , 16, were struck by other vehicles and two of them were killed. Nearly 500 drivers have already been ticketed for Scott’s Law violations in 2019, more than double the number during a comparable time frame in 2018.

The Penalty for Failing to Move Over

Scott’s Law, 625 ILCS 5/11-907(c) , requires drivers to slow down and change lanes away from a stopped emergency vehicle when they see flashing lights. The penalty for this traffic violation is a fine between $100 and $10,000, plus a driver’s license suspension if the violation results in a collision causing property damage (90 days to one year), injury (180 days to two years), or death (two years).

The State’s Attorneys in several Illinois counties have announced that they will be tougher in their prosecutions of move-over violators. One such State’s Attorney says they will no longer give offenders the option of court supervision, which keeps a ticket off your driving record. Another said they will take it a step further and ensure that offenders pay a fine of at least $500 plus court costs, for a total cost of nearly $1,000.

Increased Enforcement of Illinois’ Move-Over Law

Some law enforcement officers blame cell phones and distracted drivers for the rise in accidents. One county sheriff recounted an incident in which a sergeant and a trooper were both standing by their vehicles on the side of a highway. A distracted driver hit both of their cars, but the officers escaped injury in that case. The Illinois Sheriff’s Association has responded by initiating a traffic awareness campaign to help prevent deputies from being endangered during traffic stops.

One Illinois fire department announced that it will be taking additional precautions when handling serious traffic accidents. Rather than take the risk of being hit by passing cars, they plan to close the roadway entirely in both directions and will call upon law enforcement to assist with redirecting traffic to detours.

Will County Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer

A traffic ticket can be more than a minor nuisance. If you are cited for violating Scott’s Law, you could be facing a serious fine and suspension of your driver’s license. You will need an experienced Will County ticket defense lawyer who can negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence or possibly even dismissal of the charges. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba for a free consultation at 815-740-4025.

Exploring Plea Bargains and Their Benefits

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Criminal trials are often lengthy, complicated processes. There are many rules and regulations that must be followed during criminal trials. Those rules vary depending on which state you are being tried in and whether or not you are being tried in federal court or state court. The infamous OJ Simpson trial lasted for 11 months before a decision was reached, but other trials have taken years to conclude, costing millions of dollars. One of the solutions prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys have strategically used to help reduce the time of criminal trials is by offering plea bargains. According to the United States Bureau of Justice, around 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases result in a plea bargain.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement made between the defendant (you) and the prosecutor (the lawyer representing the local, state, or federal government). The agreement involves you entering a guilty plea to some or all of the charges that are being brought against you, usually in exchange for a more lenient sentence than would be applied following a finding of guilt at trial. Rather than going to trial to determine whether or not you are guilty, you skip that step and plead guilty. A plea bargain might involve reducing the severity of the charges against a person, reducing the number of charges against a person, reducing the severity of the sentence, or a combination of the three.

Benefits of Plea Bargains

Plea bargains have taken root in the American criminal justice system and have benefitted many, though they are thought to be controversial. Benefits of plea bargains may include:

• A reduction in the uncertainty of a defendant’s outcome;

• A reduction in the amount of time it takes to complete the criminal justice process;

• A reduction in the costs associated with a criminal trial; and

• The opportunity for defendants to obtain a more lenient sentence than if they went to trial.

On the other hand, there is concern that the pressure to accept a plea bargain could result in an innocent person pleading guilty to a crime that he or she did not actually commit.

Consult With a Knowledgeable Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

When you are facing criminal charges, it can be a scary experience. There is much uncertainty when you find yourself at odds with the law. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you figure out what your best course of action would be for any criminal charge you may be facing. Jack Zaremba is a former Will County prosecutor, so he has extensive knowledge of the Illinois criminal justice system and can help you negotiate a plea bargain, if appropriate. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 815-740-4025 Today


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