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Drunk driving, zero tolerance and drivers under 21

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Posted on July 1, 2022

If you are a driver under 21 or the parent of a teen driver, it is essential to familiarize yourself with laws related to underage drunk driving. In Illinois, it is against the law for those under the age of 21 to operate motor vehicles with any traceable alcohol in their system.

Moreover, those under 21 can face harsh penalties due to drunk driving charges, such as losing driving privileges, a costly fine, community service and even time behind bars.

Zero tolerance and underage drunk driving

The Illinois State Police go over the state’s zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. According to the ISP, those under the age of 21 face the suspension of their driver’s license if caught with any alcohol in their system while driving. Therefore, if a minor driver has any alcohol in their system during a traffic stop, they could face serious charges.

Whether a teen does not realize that a drink contains small amounts of alcohol or they do not realize how long a drink stays in their system, many become surprised to face charges due to this zero-tolerance policy.

Exceptions to Illinois’ zero-tolerance policy

The ISP notes that there are some exceptions to the zero-tolerance policy in Illinois. For example, if a driver under the age of 21 has a prescription for medicine that contains alcohol, they could avoid drunk driving charges. Additionally, in some instances, an exception exists for minors who drink alcohol due to a religious service.

If you currently face underage drunk driving charges, you need to have a solid understanding of your legal options and all of the details surrounding your case.