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Juvenile Alcohol Offenses in Illinois

Posted on in Juvenile Offenders

IL defense lawyerThe legal drinking age is 21 in all 50 U.S. states. However, this does not mean that every person waits until they are 21 years old to drink alcohol. Teens and young adults may experiment with alcohol before it is legal. In some cases, the decision to drink leads to significant consequences, including criminal charges.

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

Many young people find ways to access alcohol even though they are not old enough to buy it legally. They may get an older sibling or friend to purchase the alcohol for them or use a fake ID to buy alcohol from the store. Underage possession of alcohol is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the offender faces driver's license suspension for a minimum of six years, fines, and even jail time.

Illinois Zero Tolerance Policy

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Illinois is 0.08 percent. However, Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. Individuals under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Having even just a single drink and then driving can lead to repercussions under Illinois's zero-tolerance laws.

If an underage person is caught driving under the influence of alcohol, their license is suspended for three months. If the individual refuses to take a breath alcohol test or other chemical BAC test, the driver's license suspension period is six months.

Under 21 DUI Penalties

An underage driver can face penalties under Illinois's zero-tolerance policy for having any amount of alcohol in their system. If an underage driver has a BAC of over 0.08 percent, the driver faces criminal charges for drunk driving. Underage DUI is penalized by a two-year driver's license revocation. The driver may also face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. The penalties are more severe if there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle, the driver's BAC was 0.16 percent or greater, or there were other aggravating factors.

Illinois prioritizes rehabilitation over punishment when it comes to juvenile offenses. However, this does not mean that a juvenile offense cannot influence a young person's life profoundly.

Contact a Wheaton Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or your child were accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, underage possession of alcohol, or another alcohol-related offense, contact Stephen A. Brundage for help. Skilled DuPage County criminal defense attorney Stephen Brundage is experienced in juvenile cases and can protect your rights or the rights of your child. Call 630-260-9647 for a free consultation.


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