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Understanding underage drinking and driving issues

A conviction for driving under the influence is a serious matter for anyone in the state of Illinois. However, the spotlight is brightest on those who are under the age of 21. The good news in Illinois is that DUI arrests for underage drivers decreased between 1986 and 2016. Tougher laws for DUI and DUI prevention programs have contributed to the decline. The Zero Tolerance law in Illinois has also been effective.

After the conviction, getting back on the right path to responsible driving behavior is an important undertaking for young drivers. Underage motorists can have their driving privileges restored once they meet certain conditions. 

Under 21 DUI consequences

For a first offense, a driver who is under the age of 21 faces a license revocation of a minimum of two years in addition to any penalties, such as pertinent fines, which apply. He or she is not eligible to receive a Restricted Driving Permit until the completion of the first 12 months of the revocation period.

As a condition of discharge or probation, a judge may order an underage driver convicted of DUI to enter the Youthful Intoxicated Driver's Visitation Program. Prior to participating in such a program, the driver will undergo counseling. If authorities determine that the individual is a good fit for the program, they will escort him or her to a particular location to view the consequences of alcoholism or the aftermath of an alcohol-related vehicle crash.

Under 18 offenders

Those who are under the age of 18 and on a statutory summary suspension will not be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. These young drivers may either be required to attend remedial education or submit to retesting before they can have their driving privileges reinstated. As one of the steps to driver's license reinstatement, young drivers with DUI convictions must appear before a representative from the Office of the Secretary of State. 

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