The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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Illinois' Zero-Tolerance Law and The Consequences For Breaking It

 Posted on January 18, 2024 in Underage Drinking

Blog ImageUnderage drinking is a problem in Illinois. When a person younger than 21 decides to drink and drive, it is illegal, and Illinois has no problem taking away their license. Subsequent violations can see the penalties increase as they would for adults, resulting in possible jail time, fines, and further loss of driving privileges. A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can destroy a young person's life before it has even begun. The best course of action when facing an underage drinking and driving charge is to consult an attorney immediately.

Violating Illinois’ Zero-Tolerance Law

A police officer can pull anyone over if they suspect the driver of the vehicle is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As Illinois is an implied consent state, when someone is pulled over, a police officer has the right to request a sobriety test of the driver. The driver can then accept or refuse the sobriety test at their discretion. This is a field sobriety test that often requires the driver to perform a set of physical coordination tests. However, even if the driver chooses to accept the test and performs without complication, the officer can choose to submit the driver for a chemical test back at the station.

When an underage driver is pulled over for the first time and is found to have been drinking and is charged accordingly, they will likely receive a three-month license suspension. A second offense for underage drinking will usually have them facing a one-year suspension. However, in the case the driver refuses the chemical sobriety test, the penalties are doubled. First-timers are now looking at a six-month suspension of their driver’s license while second-offenders may wind up with a two-year suspension (one for the refusal, and one for the second offense.)

Additional penalties are possible depending on the severity of the underage driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level, if a traffic violation was committed, or if they were involved in an alcohol-related crash.

Exceptions To The Zero-Tolerance Law

Though they are few, exceptions do exist to Illinois’ Zero-Tolerance Law. The first exception is if alcohol was consumed by the underage driver during a religious ceremony or service. The second exception is prescribed medication that contains traces of alcohol as an ingredient. In both scenarios, alcohol is likely to still be in the person’s system at the time they are pulled over and tested.

Contact a Kane County, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Almost nothing is more frightening than knowing your child has been arrested for underage drinking and driving. You will want an experienced Elgin, IL underage drinking defense lawyer to be present in their time of need. The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola is available for a free initial consultation to discuss the case. Contact the office at 847-488-0889 to set up an appointment to ensure your child’s rights are being protected.

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