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What Are the Penalties in Illinois for Underage DUI?

Over the past several decades, it has been difficult enough convincing adults not to drink and drive. According to the Illinois Secretary of State's office, more than 20,000 drivers were charged with DUI in 2020, with 90 percent of those drivers losing their driving privileges. However, convincing teens not to drink and drive can sometimes be even more difficult. What many teens do not realize is that the penalties for anyone under 21 for DUI can be even more severe than for adults.

Standard DUI Penalties

Under Illinois law, any driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent is considered to be driving under the influence. If the driver is found guilty of a first-time offense, they will face the loss of their driver’s license for one year, a fine of up to $2,500, and potential jail time of up to one year. A second offense within a five-year period carries a loss of license for five years, a minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $2,500.

In addition to criminal penalties, a driver arrested for DUI also faces administrative penalties from the Secretary of State’s office under Illinois’ implied consent laws. For a first-time offender, a failed BAC test will result in a six-month license suspension. If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, then the license suspension will last for one year.

Zero Tolerance

Illinois has zero-tolerance laws for underage DUI, and the penalties for conviction are harsher than standard DUI convictions. As opposed to the standard BAC limit of 0.08 percent, an underage driver can face charges if they have a BAC of more than 0.00 percent. A conviction for a first-time underage offender carries the same penalties as a standard DUI conviction, but a license suspension will last for two years instead of one.

There are also serious administrative penalties for minors under the state’s implied consent laws. An underage driver will lose their driving privileges for three months if their BAC registers anything higher than 0.00 percent. A second offense will result in a one-year suspension. Refusal to submit to a BAC test will result in loss of license for six months for a first offense and a two-year suspension for a second offense.

Call a Will County Underage DUI Defense Attorney Today

If your teen has been arrested and charged with DUI, do not delay in contacting a Will County underage DUI lawyer. The consequences of a conviction can be severe. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

Illinois Continues to Battle Opioid Epidemic

The drug epidemic in the United States continues to take the lives of thousands of people each year. Despite the many efforts put forth by advocates and lawmakers, the state of Illinois still struggles with this tragic situation. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 3,013 people died from opioid overdoses last year, a 2.3 percent increase from the prior year and an almost 36 percent increase from 2019.

The governor recently signed several new laws to combat the epidemic and help those addicted to opioids. More and more lawmakers believe that instead of “punishing” those who struggle with drug addiction, there should be more opportunities for them to receive the help they need.

However, many law enforcement agencies in Illinois are also taking the steps to prosecute those who supply drugs to individuals who then suffer overdose deaths.

New Laws

The new laws that Governor JB Pritzker recently signed included:

• Senate Bill 2535 – Any pharmacist and other professionals who prescribe opioids will be required to inform those patients of the high risk of addiction these drugs pose, as well as provide the patient the option to receive Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, and is an opioid antagonist that can reverse an opioid overdose if administered in time.

• House Bill 4408 – Medicaid and other insurers will be prohibited from charging patients who seek drug addiction treatment a co-pay.

• Senate Bill 2565 – Courts will be allowed to include drug-court treatment programs and harm-reduction services when dealing with a defendant. The new law also allows the state attorney’s office to expunge and vacate convictions of those individuals who successfully complete these court-ordered programs.

• House Bill 4556 – Allows pharmacists and other medical professionals to hand out fentanyl testing strips. This will help decrease the number of opioid overdoses, allowing safe storage in a pharmacy or medical facility without the worry of prosecution.

Drug Homicide Law

The state of Illinois does have a drug homicide law. Under the law, it is a Class X felony to unlawfully deliver a controlled substance to another individual that then results in their death. A conviction can result in a prison sentence of 15 years minimum, up to 30 years.

As the number of opioid overdoes continues to increase, the number of police departments charging people with drug homicide also continues to increase. One news investigation found more than 150 cases had been filed against defendants since 2016, with almost half of those cases filed in McHenry County.

Contact a Will County Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense, you need a dedicated Will County drug crimes lawyer advocating for you. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

Facing Charges Under Illinois Hate Crime Statute

In 2018, Illinois lawmakers expanded the state’s hate crimes statute to include cyberstalking, certain acts of intimidation, and transmission of obscene messages. One of the other significant changes to that law was that it also granted the Attorney General’s office civil enforcement authority. For the first time since those changes, the AG’s office has announced it has filed a lawsuit against an Illinois mother and son for engaging in a campaign of hate crimes against their neighbor.

The Case Against a Mother and Son

According to the statement released by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the alleged acts by the mother and son began in July 2020. The alleged victim notified police that his fence was damaged by the mother who had threatened to tear it down. The victim again notified police when he saw the son intentionally spray weed killer on his lawn, which damaged all the grass. Police charged the son with misdemeanor criminal offense for the property damage. That case is still pending.

In September 2020, the son was accused of painting swastikas on his garage which faces the victim’s home. Police were again called and the son was ordered to remove the swastikas. The pair are also accused of hanging a Confederate flag and a racial slur on one of their windows that also faces the victim’s home.

The following month, there was an effigy of the victim – who is black – hanging from a tree in the mother’s yard. The mother admitted to police that they had hung the effigy in an effort to target the victim. Her refusal to remove the effigy resulted in felony charges for intimidation of a witness. That case is also still pending. In the complaint, the AG’s office has included two counts each for disorderly conduct and intimidation as part of a hate crime, as well as unspecified relief.

Illinois Hate Crime Law

The state’s hate crime law shows just how serious Illinois takes allegations of hate crimes. All hate crimes are charged as felonies – even for a first offense – so penalties for a conviction can be substantial. A conviction could potentially mean a minimum of one year up to three years in state prison and fines of up to $25,000. Second or subsequent penalties are even more severe and include three to seven years in state prison.

Call a Will County Defense Attorney Today

If you have been accused of committing a hate crime, do not delay in contacting a Will County criminal defense lawyer. As mentioned above, there can be serious consequences that your freedom and your future if you are found guilty. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

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