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Understanding the Zero Tolerance Law

Posted on in Underage Drinking

zero tolerance, Elgin criminal defense attorneyUnderage drunk driving accidents comprise a disturbingly large portion of Illinois auto accidents. Despite the dangers, they continue to be a longstanding problem on the roadways as many underage drivers seem to remain unaffected by the facts. According to the Illinois State Police, about two out of every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives, making the need for a proactive approach to underage drunk driving an ongoing, urgent matter.

Legal Consequences: The Basics

Illinois maintains a so-called "Zero Tolerance" law in regard to drivers under the age of 21. As the name implies, a driver not of legal drinking age who is found to have any trace of alcohol in his or her system can be charged with driving under the influence, or DUI. One could argue that not every driver in such a situation is necessarily impaired, but the Zero Tolerance law means that proving impairment is not necessary.

The Zero Tolerance law brings an emphasized focus on the fact that the state makes no exceptions for underage driving under the influence. Legal consequences of a conviction for underage DUI include:

  • First Underage Conviction - Loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 2 years, a fine of up to $2,500, plus possible imprisonment for up to 1 year;
  • Second Underage Conviction - Mandatory jail time (48 hours) or 10 days of community service, loss of driving privileges for 3 years or more, a fine of up to $2,500, plus possible imprisonment for up to 1 year; and
  • Third Underage Conviction - A third conviction is considered a Class 4 Felony and includes a fine of up to $25,000, up to 3 years of prison time, plus the loss of basic driving privileges for a minimum of 6 years.

Legal consequences may also extend to any parents who knowingly allow underage indviduals to possess and consume alcohol in their home, should any bodily harm or death occur because of such actions. Even the mere transportation of alcohol by underage drivers is illegal, resulting in a fine of up to $1,000 and driver’s license suspension.

Other Consequences

In addition to criminal and administrative penalties, an underage driver found to be operating under the influence may be required by the court to attend the Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program. Under this program, the offender views the results of DUI crashes and alcoholism at a specific location, which is often a condition of discharge or probation.

If you or your child has been arrested for underage DUI, you need an attorney who is ready to fight on your behalf. Contact an experienced Elgin DUI defense lawyer today to discuss your case and explore your available options. Call 847-488-0889 and schedule a free, confidential consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.

Sources:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv23/23ESV-000213.PDF

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