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How an Underage Drinking Charge Can Impact Your Child Every year, hundreds of thousands of American teens take part in illegal underage drinking. Outside of the obvious health concerns of underage drinking, it is important for parents to understand the ways in which an underage drinking arrest can potentially impact your child’s future. Depending on the severity of the charge, an alcohol-related arrest can lead to serious fines, impact your child’s advanced education opportunities, and even potentially lead to jail time. If your child is charged with an alcohol-related crime, it is time to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional. 

Underage Drinking Charges in Illinois

Recognizing the way in which the activity can impact a child’s health, underage drinking is punished harshly in the state of Illinois. If a minor is found in possession of alcohol, they will face a driver’s license suspension of at least three months. If a minor is apprehended while transporting alcohol in a motor vehicle, they can face fines as high as $1,000 (this fine also applies to other minors in the vehicle, not just the driver). The driver of the vehicle will face a mandatory one-year license revocation period. While the consequences of drinking alcohol as a minor are significant, the legal ramifications of providing a minor with alcohol are much more severe. If you are charged with providing alcohol to a minor, you could face fines as high as $2,500 and a misdemeanor charge. It should be noted that there are a number of factors that can elevate the misdemeanor charge to a felony.

Drinking and Driving Underage

In the state of Illinois, law enforcement officials are constantly on the lookout for inebriated drivers. The “zero tolerance” law states that minors are prohibited from operating motor vehicles with a blood alcohol content over 0.0. The first offense for violating the zero-tolerance policy comes with a three-month license suspension. If the minor refuses to use a breathalyzer test, the suspension will be increased to a six-month suspension. If the driver is over the age of 18, they can regain their driving privileges after serving 30 days of the suspension and obtaining a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). If the driver is caught operating a vehicle without a BAIID, they will face Class 4 felony charges. If a minor’s blood alcohol content is over the legal limit of 0.08, they will face a two-year license revocation period and up to one year in prison. 


Posted on in Underage DUI

Underage DUI Has Severe RamificationsBeing arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be incredibly frightening. It does not take a legal professional to understand that a DUI conviction can come with significant legal consequences. The legal ramifications of a DUI conviction can be increasingly severe for drivers under the age of 21. If your child is arrested for driving while intoxicated, you need to act. Below, we will discuss some of the punishments of an underage DUI and how a quality legal team can help in the aftermath of an arrest. 

The Zero Tolerance Law

In Illinois, drivers under the age of 21 must abide by the Zero Tolerance Law. In short, the law states that a minor can face legal consequences for driving with any alcohol in their system, even if their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit of 0.08. In 2017, just under 400 drivers lost their driving privileges due to violating the state’s Zero Tolerance Law. A first violation of the law will result in an automatic six-month license suspension. 

The Legal Consequences of an Underage DUI

While violation of the Zero Tolerance Law will lead to loss of driving privileges, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be much more severe. Just like drivers of any age, a driver under the age of 21 will face a Class A misdemeanor charge, loss of driving privileges, and significant fines for having a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit. Additionally, a driver under the age of 21 will face a two-year license revocation period for their first offense, twice the revocation period for a driver of legal drinking age. 


How a DUI Conviction Can Impact a Driver Under the Age of 21 A charge of driving under the influence should never be taken lightly because the ramifications of a conviction can range from loss of driving privileges to potential jail-time. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, a DUI conviction can come with legal ramifications of increased severity. Alcohol is a leading risk factor in fatal car accidents among teen drivers, with more than 20 percent of all teen driving fatalities involving alcohol in some capacity. Because of this, law enforcement officials are constantly on the lookout for inebriated driving amongst teen drivers. If you or a member of your family have been arrested for intoxicated driving, it is time to seek out the assistance of a legal professional. 

The Legal Ramifications

In Illinois, underage drivers can be charged for simply driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.00. This state law is known as the zero-tolerance policy. According to the zero-tolerance policy:

  • An underage drinker’s first arrest with a blood alcohol content over 0.00 will result in a license suspension of six months; and
  • A second offense will result in a suspension of driving privileges for a two year period.

If your child is convicted of a DUI, they will face having a Class A misdemeanor on their criminal record. Not only will the conviction result in a two-year license revocation, but the charge could impact their ability to secure employment or be admitted to universities. Throughout 2017, a staggering 1,160 underage drivers in Illinois were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your child is facing a DUI charge, the first step you should take is consulting with an attorney you can trust.  


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. 


IL DUI lawyerWith the legal drinking age set at 21 nationwide, you would not expect there to be many arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) among people under age 21. Yet over 2,000 Illinois youth received punishment for underage driving and driving in 2016. If you are suspected of drinking and driving, the penalties you may face are substantially tougher if you are under age 21 than if you are age 21 or older.

The Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol is Lower for Underage Drivers

If you are at least 21 years old, you are considered guilty of DUI when you have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. You can also be charged with DUI if your BAC is .05 or higher and there is additional evidence that your driving was impaired.


IL teen DUI lawyerWhat can happen to a 16- or 17-year-old driver if they get arrested for drinking and driving in DuPage County? In short: A lot. While drivers under the age of 18 have the advantage of being treated as juveniles, rather than adults, in the Illinois legal system, they have the disadvantage that state law is very tough on underage drinking and driving.

Drivers Under Age 18 Go to Juvenile Court

When a minor under the age of 18 is arrested in Illinois, they are processed through the juvenile justice system. By law, the police can only detain 16- and 17-year-olds in a municipal lockup or county jail for a maximum of 12 hours, after which they must either be released to parents or processed for placement in a juvenile facility. If a DUI charge is filed against the juvenile, they can either make a plea deal with the prosecutor or have a bench trial before a judge; juveniles are generally not entitled to jury trials.

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