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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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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.

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Illinois DUI lawyerDrinking socially can be a way to unwind from a stressful week, as long as the individual drinking is doing so responsibly. Many parents, legal guardians, and other adults have furnished alcohol to their children, even if under the age of 21. However, even though the furnishing of alcohol may not be in a public place, the state of Illinois still considers this action to be illegal and it may come with very serious charges, including driving under the influence, if the person drinking alcohol decides to drive afterward.

Why Is Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor Illegal in Illinois?

If an adult over the age of 21 provides alcohol to a person under the age of 21, he or she may face some very serious consequences. The individual may face a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in jail for a misdemeanor offense. However, if the individual is charged with a felony, he or she may face a fine of up to $25,000 and at least one year in prison.

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