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What Illinois Law Says About Underage Drinking and Driving

Drivers in Illinois who are under the age of 21 are subject to a zero-tolerance drunk driving law. For a first offense, an individual will lose his or her license for three months, and the penalty increases to six months for refusing to take a alcohol test. Violating the zero-tolerance policy a second time prior to age 21 will result in a license suspension of up to a year.

Individuals who are 18 or older may be entitled to relief after 30 days. However, this requires the use of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. Failure to make use of such a device is a felony that could result in jail or prison time as well as fines of up to $25,000. Underage drivers who are convicted of DUI could spend up to a year in jail as well as have their drivers license revoked for at least a year for a first offense.

A conviction for a second offense results in a license revocation of at least five years. In the event that an underage individual is convicted of aggravated DUI, that person may spend up to 30 years in prison and lose driving privileges for life. Aggravating factors include causing bodily harm or death or driving without a valid drivers license or insurance.

Minors who are charged with DUI may benefit from hiring a juvenile criminal defense attorney. An attorney will help their client have a greater understanding of how the law applies to those who are not of age when a crime occurs. It may then be easier to craft arguments that help a younger person obtain a favorable outcome in a case. This may include avoiding jail time or having driving privileges reinstated sooner than what the law calls for.