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What an Underage DUI Charge Could Mean For Your Child Consumption of alcohol as a minor (a person under the age of 21) is against the law in Illinois. Getting behind the wheel of a car, after consuming alcohol, can be especially dangerous for people under the legal drinking age. Due to the inherent danger of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the legal consequences of a DUI charge can be incredibly severe. If your child is charged with a DUI, it is important to speak with a legal professional. 

The Zero Tolerance Law 

In 2017, a staggering 397 drivers under the age of 21 lost their driving privileges due to violations of Illinois’ Zero Tolerance law. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, the Zero Tolerance policy was officially established in 1995. The law states that if a driver under the legal drinking age is found with traces of alcohol in their system, they may face driver’s license suspension. It is important to note that a minor does not have to be driving with a blood alcohol concentration over the standard legal limit of 0.08 to be in violation of the Zero Tolerance policy. Violation of the zero-tolerance policy results in a mandatory three-month license suspension. 

The Legal Consequences of an Underage DUI

Penalties for underage drivers are more severe if their BAC is 0.08 or higher. A first-time DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in fines up to $2,500 and as long as one year in prison. For drivers under the age of 21, even a first-time DUI conviction automatically amounts to a two-year driver’s license revocation. For minors, restricted driver’s permit (RDP) eligibility is not warranted until the second year of the revocation. 

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The Impact of a DUI Charge in Illinois According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 29 Americans die every day in car accidents involving impaired drivers. Due to the sheer number of fatalities caused by inebriated drivers, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement officials are always on the lookout for drunk drivers. In Illinois, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can come with severe legal consequences. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to seek out quality legal representation as soon as possible. 

Consequences of a Conviction

Illinois classifies a first DUI as a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a class A misdemeanor could lead to:

  • A maximum of 364 days in prison;
  • Fines up to $2,500; and
  • A one-year driver's license suspension.

In certain situations, a first-time offender can face increased criminal punishment. If an offender has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or higher or is carrying a passenger under the age of 16, they will face a minimum of six months in prison, along with mandatory community service hours.  

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Illinois defense lawyerWhen you or a loved one has had a previous DUI arrest, a subsequent DUI arrest is a serious matter. The penalties for repeat DUI are so harsh that you will want to do everything in your power to avoid a conviction and to minimize the loss of driving privileges.

Illinois Definition of a Repeat DUI Offender

The first thing you need to understand is how Illinois differentiates a first-time DUI offender from a repeat offender. A first-time offender is a driver who meets all of the following conditions:

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Illinois DUI attorneyAmericans often resort to alcohol and other means of relaxing after a long and hard week filled with responsibilities. Although many people drink responsibly and take into account the potential consequences of drinking and driving, unfortunately, not everyone considers those outcomes. Anyone who is found driving after consuming any amount of alcohol could face very serious consequences that might impact their everyday lives and activities.

Conviction Variables of DUI in Illinois

The first conviction of a DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, with at least one year of revoked driving privileges.

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