Zero Tolerance Causes Automatic License Suspensions for Underage DrinkersIllinois has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking, which makes the state's driving under the influence of alcohol laws particularly stringent for teens and young adults. Drivers age 21 and older commit a DUI offense when their blood alcohol concentration is at 0.08 or higher. However, drivers who are younger than 21 have committed an offense under the zero-tolerance policy when there is any trace of alcohol in their systems. Drivers who are underage may be guilty of DUI if they have a BAC of 0.08 or greater or a BAC of 0.05 with other evidence that proves impairment.

Zero Tolerance Penalties

DUI penalties for an underage drinker apply if the suspect is convicted, but zero tolerance penalties apply upon citation for having a BAC that is greater than 0.00. Penalties under the zero-tolerance policy include:

Drivers whose licenses have been suspended because of the zero-tolerance policy may find that regaining their license is an ordeal. They likely have to complete a driver’s education class and retake the driver’s license exam.

DUI Penalties

The consequences of being convicted for DUI are more severe than violating the zero-tolerance policy:

For a DUI charge that involves death or bodily harm, the possible prison time becomes greater.

Related Charges

A DUI case for any driver may include related charges and aggravating factors. Drivers who are younger than 21 potentially face related charges that are unique to their legal status, such as:

Defending Underage Drinkers

A violation of the zero-tolerance policy is highly preferable to a DUI conviction. The former focuses on correcting bad driving behavior, while the latter can have serious criminal consequences. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can defend your child against a DUI charge or seek minimum penalties. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.