It is summertime, which means that school is not in session and we are in the heart of festival season, and with festival season inevitably comes some instances of underage drinking. During my many years of handling DUI cases, I have seen my fair share of clients under the age of 21 who are facing DUI charges and want to know what kind of punishment they may be facing.
Like many states, Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking. The Illinois Supreme Court found that the justification for Illinois' Zero-Tolerance summary suspension policy is that it provides “youthful drivers an incentive—not found in DUI law—to refrain from consuming any amount of alcohol.” Arvia v. Madigan, 209 Ill. 2d 520 (2004). Illinois' zero-tolerance summary suspension policy means that if a police officer has probable cause to believe that a driver under the age of 21 has any trace amount of alcohol in their system, the officer may administer a chemical test to check the young adult's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If the BAC is found to be higher than 0.00% and the young adult is convicted, the young adult's license will be suspended.
The length of the suspension depends on the exact charge, how high you blow, and whether you refused or failed to complete a BAC test. The suspension for those who blow more than 0.00% BAC but less than 0.08% BAC range from a three-month suspension for a first-time offender and one year for a second-time offender. If you refuse to blow, your suspension will be six months for your first refusal to complete a BAC test and two years for your second refusal to complete a BAC test. If you blow more than 0.08% BAC, your first under-21 DUI will result in a minimum two-year suspension, and your second under-21 DUI will result in a minimum five-year suspension.
If you are under the age of 21 and face a DUI conviction, you need a seasoned attorney on your side. The lawyers at John W. Callahan have years of experience handling cases such as these and know how to challenge a young adult's DUI charge. We will attack the reliability of the chemical test administered as they can at times give inaccurate readings. We will also call into question whether the officer had probable cause to administer the test in the first place. If you face a DUI charge, contact the skilled DUI attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for representation.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, DUI attorney