According to the Illinois State Police, approximately forty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. Underage drunk driving accidents account for a large portion of these auto accidents. The need for a proactive approach to underage drunk driving is an ongoing problem.
Legal Consequences of Drinking and Driving Underage
Illinois maintains a “Zero Tolerance” law for drivers who are underage (under the age of 21). This means that a driver who is not above 21 years old who is caught driving with any trace of alcohol in their system can be charged with driving under the influence. Underage drivers do not need to be impaired in order to be charged with a DUI. Put another way, young people who drink and drive do not need to have a blood alcohol level of .08% or above in order to break the law. Legal consequences of a conviction for drinking and driving while underage include loss of diving privileges for a minimum of 2 years, a fine of up to $2500 and possible imprisonment for up to a year for the first conviction. A second underage DUI conviction will result in 48 hours mandatory jail time or 10 days of community service, the loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 3 years, and possible imprisonment for up to a year. A third underage DUI conviction is a class 4 felony. Those convicted face a fine of up to $25,000, a maximum of 3 years of prison time, and the loss of driving privileges for 6 years or more.
The underage individuals who are caught drinking and driving are not the only people affected by the Zero Tolerance Law. Parents who knowingly allow their underage children or children’s friends to drink alcohol in their home can face legal consequences should those children be hurt or killed in an alcohol-related accident. Underage drivers are also not allowed to transport alcohol. Those found with alcohol in their vehicle can be given a fine of up to $1,000 and have their driver’s license suspended.
Legal Guidance for Those Charged Under a Zero Tolerance Law
If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking and driving, you need an attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to fight on your behalf. Contact an Elgin DUI defense lawyer today to discuss your case and explore the possible options. Call 847-488-0889 and schedule a free, confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola.