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Rolling Meadows, IL DUI defense attorney

Alcohol is a common source of trouble for teens. Underage drinking is fairly typical in the United States, but it can result in significant criminal charges and even life-threatening problems. For young adults, unintentional injuries are the most common cause of death, with the majority of those injuries related to car accidents. When you add alcohol use into the mix, the likelihood of a vehicle crash is even higher. This is why the laws pertaining to underage drinking and alcohol possession are so strict and carry such serious consequences. Teens and underage young adults can face severe punishments for violating certain alcohol-related offenses, including driving under the influence (DUI). 

Underage Drinking

You must be 21 or older to legally purchase or consume alcohol in the United States. If you are under the age of 21, you are not permitted to consume alcohol, or you could be charged with underage drinking. If you are convicted of underage drinking, you face a six-month driver's license suspension, unless you were sentenced to court supervision, in which case you face a three-month driver’s license suspension. A second conviction may result in a one-year suspension, and further convictions can result in a revocation.

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IL defense lawyerWhen teens get behind the wheel of a car after they have consumed alcohol, they have a higher chance of getting into an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, with a fourth of those crashes involving an underage driver who has been drinking. The NHTSA reports that drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 made up 39 percent of drivers involved in fatal alcohol-involved crashes. Illinois has adopted a zero tolerance law, meaning that if an underage driver is found to have any alcohol in their system, they will lose their driving privileges. Being charged with an underage DUI is a serious offense, so it is important that you understand the penalties.

Legal Penalties for Underage Drinkers

Under the Zero Tolerance law in Illinois, an underage driver who is found to have alcohol in their system can be subject to penalties under the Zero Tolerance law, but also DUI laws.

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Posted on in DUI

Arlington Heights DUI defense lawyerDrinking and driving can have serious consequences for any driver, but those under the age of 21 have the additional burden of a zero tolerance law. Underage drivers also have slightly different (and more severe) penalties than adults if they are caught driving while intoxicated. The following explains the potential consequences of an underage DUI. It also provides some valuable information on how they might be avoided, should an arrest occur.

What is the Zero Tolerance Law?

For non-commercial drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit of intoxication is a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 are held to a much higher standard because they are not of legal age to drink. This standard, which is known as the zero tolerance law, states that they can be penalized with a DUI if they have any trace of alcohol in their system. In other words, they cannot surpass a 0.00 BAC.

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Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney, Arlington Heights DUI attorney, DUI charge, DUI laws, DUI lawyer, felony DUI, illinois dui attorney, underage drinking, underage DUI, zero toleranceIn the past decade, states have continued to increase coordinated efforts to stop or slow the rate of drunk driving accidents. According to the Illinois State Police, there are several levels of DUI charges and convictions in Illinois, though the state does have a zero-tolerance for underage drinking. This means that if a person is under the age of 21 and caught driving under the influence, he will be charged no matter what his blood alcohol level content was at the time of arrest (even if it was under the legal limit).

If an underage person is charged under the zero tolerance law in Illinois, his license will be revoked for three months if it is the first violation, or six months if he refused the blood alcohol test. If it is his second violation, his license will be revoked for up to one year, or two years if he refused the test. Neither stays on his permanent record. Yet an underage person in Illinois can also be charged under regular DUI laws. If an underage driver is arrested for DUI and his blood alcohol content is .08 or greater, he can receive a DUI conviction that stays on his permanent driving record.

Zero tolerance laws have been in effect in Illinois since 1995. While underage drivers only account for 10 percent of all licensed drivers in the U.S., according to the Illinois State Police, they "are involved in 17 percent of alcohol-related fatal crashes." Additionally, car crashes are one of the most leading causes of death for teenagers in the U.S. Every day, six people, ages 15–20, die in a motor vehicle accident.

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