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

joliet underage DUI zero tolerance

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.