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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will explain the penalties a driver under the age of 21 years old faces if he or she is convicted of a DUI in Illinois. We will also provide an explanation of Illinois Zero-Tolerance Policy and the implications it has on underage drivers caught with alcohol in their system while driving.

Illinois Zero-Tolerance Policy for Underage Drinking and Driving

Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If a driver under the age of 21 years old is caught with any trace of alcohol in his or her system, they will lose their driving privileges. The first offense for being caught driving with a BAC of more than .00 receives a three-month suspension of driving privileges. A second offense for someone under 21 years old being caught driving with a BAC of more than .00 will receive a one-year suspension of driving privileges.

Under the zero-tolerance policy, individuals also face penalties if they refuse a test to determine the blood-alcohol level. If a law enforcement officer does either a routine traffic stop or issues a traffic citation and has probable cause to believe an underage driver has alcohol in their system, the officer may request a chemical test. If the underage driver refuses the test, there are penalties affecting their driving privileges. The first violation for refusing a BAC test is a six-month suspension of driving privileges. The second violation includes a two-year suspension of driving privileges.

If someone had their driver’s license suspended before the age of 21 years old, the driver is required to successfully complete a driver remedial education course validate their driving privileges. The individual may also be required to submit a driver’s license exam in order to be re-issued a driver’s license.  

Penalties for a DUI if the Driver’s Under 21 in Illinois

Underage Drinking and Driving

A driver under the age of 21 will be charged with a DUI under the following circumstances: he or she has a BAC of .08 or more, has a BAC of at least .05 with additional evidence proving impairment, has any illegal drugs in his or her system, or has any other implications of impaired driving.

The penalties for underage DUI:

  • First conviction: minimum two-year revocation of driving privileges;
  • Second conviction: minimum five-year revocation of driving privileges;
  • Third conviction: a minimum 10-year revocation and a Class 4 Felony;
  • Fourth conviction: lifetime revocation of license;
  • A fine up to $2,500;
  • A possible requirement to participate in a Youthful Intoxicated Driver’s Visitation Program.

The Secretary of State’s office may issue a restricted driver’s license after one year of
revocation. In most cases, the restricted license means the individual can drive between a certain set of hours, such as 5 am and 9 pm. This restricted license would be valid for one year and then the Secretary of State’s office would evaluate the driver again to determine the status of his or her driver’s license.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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