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Illinois Zero Tolerance Policy for Underage Drunk Driving

September 16th, 2015 at 7:22 am

Illinois juvenile crimes attorney, Illinois DUI attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,Illinois has very strict laws when it comes to underage individuals driving under the influence of alcohol. Illinois is a zero tolerance state, meaning that if an underage driver is asked by law enforcement to submit to a chemical test and it is discovered that the underage driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of anything other than zero, the underagedriver will be subject to penalties.

Under Illinois’ zero tolerance law, when a law enforcement officer makes a traffic stop and the driver is under the age of 21 and the officer has reason to suspect that the driver may be operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer can require that the underage driver submit to a chemical test. Any concentration of alcohol in the test results will result in the underage driver being arrested and processed for driving under the influence (DUI).

There are different levels of driving under the influence when it comes to underage drivers. There is driving under the influence in violation of the zero tolerance law, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8, which means the underage driver has a BAC of 0.01 or higher, and there is driving under the influence in violation of the state’s DUI laws, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, which means that the underage driver was operating the vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

Conviction Under The Zero Tolerance Law Means Loss of License

When an underage driver is convicted of driving under the influence, the consequences vary depending on whether it is a first time offense, the driver’s BAC, and whether the underage driver refused the chemical testing.

  • A first-time violation of the zero tolerance law results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of three months. A second violation is a year.
  • A first-time violation of the zero tolerance law, and refusing to submit to the chemical test, results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of six months. A second violation is two years.
  • A first-time violation of the DUI laws as an underage driver results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of six months. A second violation is a year.
  • A first-time violation of the DUI laws, and refusing to submit to the chemical test, results in the loss of driving privileges for a period of 12 months. A second violation is three years.

Defending against Alleged Zero Tolerance Law Violations

There may be a legitimate and legal reason that an underage driver has alcohol in their system. Many prescription medications contain alcohol as an active ingredient, and an underage driver may have taken the medication before getting behind the wheel. It is also possible that the underage driver has alcohol in his or her system as a result of a religious service or ceremony. These are two exceptions to the zero tolerance law that can be argued as reasons for why the underage driver had alcohol in his or her system under 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8(e).

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a zero tolerance law violation or a DUI in Illinois, it is important that you aggressively fight the charges. Feel free to contact an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.8.htm

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050K11-501.8.htm

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