Convictions of Underage DUI in Chicago Result in Harsh Consequences
Illinois law enforcement officers and prosecutors take an extremely hard line toward underage drunk driving because of the high rate of teen-DUI related crashes. Sixty percent of all fatal teen driving accidents are alcohol-related. Strict underage DUI laws are based on teen driver inexperience and the elevated risk of teens causing or becoming victims of vehicular homicide or bodily harm in alcohol-related accidents.
Illinois zero tolerance law and penalties for underage drivers
If you are charged with underage DUI in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, you may be convicted even if you have had less than a single beer. Illinois is a zero tolerance state for teen drivers so you may be convicted of underage DUI if you have any detectable amount of alcohol in your blood. This zero tolerance policy also means that you are particularly susceptible to DUI charges based on consumption of cough syrup and mouthwash or acid reflex (GERD).
A teen driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .01 percent or greater will faces serious penalties under Illinois’s zero tolerance law. A first offense of driving with a detectable amount of alcohol while under 21may result in a 3 month suspension of your driving privileges while a second offense may result in a 2 year suspension. It is important to understand that these penalties apply even if you are not driving under the influence based on the adult DUI threshold of .08 percent BAC; ANY amount of alcohol in your system will result in suspension under the Illinois no tolerance law.
Refusals by teen drivers under the Illinois informed consent law
Some teen drivers refuse to submit to BAC testing, such as a breath or blood test, but this strategy will not protect your driving privileges. A first refusal will result in a 6 month suspension of your driving privileges while a second offense will result in a 2 year loss of your driving privileges.
Drivers under 21 with a BAC of .08 percent (adult DUI BAC standard)
If you are convicted for driving with a BAC of .08 percent when you are under 21 (i.e. adult DUI), you face far more serious penalties, including a license suspension of up to 2 years, one year jail term and $2,500 fine. A second conviction may result in even more severe penalties including:
· 5 year loss of driving privileges or until the driver turns 21 (whichever is longer)
· Minimum jail term of 5 days and up to a maximum of one year
· Thirty days community service
· $2,500 fine
While these may seem like harsh penalties, they do not represent all of the consequences of an Illinois DUI conviction when you are under the age of 21. The conviction may become part of your permanent criminal record and affect future opportunities, such as employment, college admission or expulsion, financial aid, eligibility for state occupational licenses and professional licensing. Because these consequences can significantly impact your future, you should call the Robert J. Callahan & Associates to learn about your legal rights and options. Mr. Callahan has been defending the rights of those accused of criminal offenses in Chicago for 23 years so he brings proven expertise and experience.
Our experienced Chicago teen DUI attorneys understand the enormous stakes facing drivers under the age of 21. We carefully investigate the facts, analyze police reports and other documentation, evaluate the legal basis for the initial stop, and review police procedures prior to our clients’ DUI arrest to develop effective defense strategies, which may include:
· Sufficiency of the evidence supporting the initial stop
· Proper functioning and calibration of the breath testing device
· Factors compromising breath test results: GERD, mouthwash, gender, diabetes, low-carb diets
· Accuracy of officer observations during the stop
· Challenges to the procedures and scoring of field sobriety testing
· Seeking exclusion of incriminating statements based on Miranda violations
These are only a few of the defense strategies that our Chicago underage DUI attorneys at Robert J. Callahan & Associates employ when defending clients under 21 from the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction. While we carefully explore strategies to prevent a conviction, we also look for opportunities to obtain a reduction in charges or mitigate any penalties. We also may be able to assist you in seeking a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) if your license is suspended after a portion of your drivers’ license suspension has been served.
If you or an underage driver close to you is facing DUI-related charges in the greater Chicago metro area, our experienced under 21 DUI attorneys at Robert J. Callahan & Associates provide tenacious defense of our clients rights and future. We invite you to contact us anytime 24/7 at 312-322-9000 or visit our website and complete our confidential inquiry form or use our online chat service.