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Underage DUI in Chicago

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Convictions for underage DUI charges in Chicago result in harsh consequences for the driver. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges in the state of Illinois share a no-tolerance view on underage drunk driving, due in part to the high rate of teen-DUI crashes. Over half of fatal teen driving accidents are alcohol-related, and strict underage DUI laws were established based on the inexperience of teen drivers and the heightened risks of teens either causing or becoming victims of bodily harm in alcohol-related accidents. 

From the first contact with the police officer during an underage drunk driving arrest, all the way through the DUI trial, an underage DUI is an incredibly stressful experience. It is illegal for underage individuals to have a blood alcohol content higher than 0.00, and severe punishments including jail time can be handed down in these cases. At Ktenas Law, our criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you build an effective defense strategy for your underage drinking charges! Contact us today for a free case consultation. 

License Suspension for Illinois Underage DUI

If you're arrested for a traffic violation that results in a trace of any alcohol being found in your blood, you'll be suspended from driving for 3 months. Refusing to submit a sample for testing for alcohol in your blood will result in a 6-month suspension.

Learn More: Penalties for a DUI in Chicago

If you're convicted of a second DUI, your driving privileges will either be suspended for 12 months or 24 months if you don't take a breathalyzer test. Drivers who are under 18 years of age will be required to take a compulsory remedial education course for driving and have to undergo a driver's license examination in the future to be issued a license.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving if You Are Under 21

You may face severe penalties if you are convicted of an underage DUI in Illinois, including: 

  • Time in jail of up to one year a fine of up to $2,500
  • Mandatory participation in a youthful intoxicated driver's program 
  • Suspension of your driving privileges for up to 2 years
Underage DUI in Chicago infographic

Subsequent DUI convictions will result in harsher penalties, making it increasingly important to hire a talented criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. You may be eligible to receive a restricted license for use during certain times to travel to work or school. 

Illinois Zero Tolerance Law for Underage Drivers

If you are charged for underage DUI in Chicago or any other Illinois city, you may be convicted even if you have had less than a single beer. Illinois is a zero-tolerance state for teen drivers. If you have any detectable amount of alcohol in your blood, you may be convicted of DUI.

A teen driver whose BAC is 0.01 percent or higher will face serious penalties under Illinois's "zero tolerance" law. A first DUI offense while under 21 may result in a 3-month license suspension.

Related Content: What Does a DUI Cost in Chicago?

A second DUI offense may result in a 2-year license suspension. It is important to know that these penalties apply even when you are not driving under influence of alcohol based on the adult DUI blood alcohol concentration threshold of .08 percent - ANY amount of alcohol will result in suspension under Illinois' no tolerance law.

Some teen drivers refuse blood or breath tests, but this strategy will do nothing to protect your driving privileges. A first refusal will lead to a 6-month suspension of driving privileges while a second refusal will lead to a 2-year loss of driving privileges.

A beer, car keys, and handcuffs on a bar.

Underage Drivers With a BAC of 0.08

Having a BAC of 0.08 is the criteria for an adult DUI. Drivers under the age of 21 will face far more severe penalties, including a license suspension of up to 2 years, 1 year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500. A second conviction with an excessively high BAC will yield even harsher punishment including:

  • Loss of driving privileges for 2 years
  • A minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 1 year in jail
  • 30 days of community service
  • A fine of up to $2,500

Additionally, the conviction will be listed on your criminal record and can affect future prospects, including future opportunities for employment, college admission, financial aid, and professional licensing opportunities. 

Related Content: What to Do After a DUI

We Can Help You With Your DUI Charge

Hiring an experienced Chicago DUI lawyer can greatly increase your chances of getting a positive outcome in your criminal DUI case. If you are under the age of 21 and have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol you will want to hire a defense attorney to defend your rights and help you navigate the details of your criminal offense charge.

In addition to a permanent mark on your driving record, an underage DUI carries harsh criminal penalties including a potential jail sentence, a set number of days of community service, expensive fines, and more. In addition, you will face administrative punishments that include a suspension of driving privileges for months or even years. Contact an experienced attorney at Ktenas Law today to schedule your initial consultation!

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