Underage DUI Defense Attorney in Chicago
Minors under 18 and those under 21 may face criminal charges after getting arrested for driving under the influence, just like adults 21 and older. If you are under 21 or if your child was arrested or charged with DUI in Illinois, contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC immediately. We may be available to represent them in their case.
Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has defended minors against criminal charges since 1990. We are ready to fight for your son or daughter’s freedom and future. Call us at (800) 996-4824 today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
Zero Tolerance Law in Illinois
According to Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/11-501.8, anyone under 21 years old who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a public highway in the state is:
- Deemed to have given consent to a blood, breath, other bodily substance, or urine test, blood test or other tests to determine the content of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds in their blood if arrested by a police officer with probable cause
- Deemed not to have withdrawn consent if dead, unconscious, or otherwise in a condition unable to refuse, and law enforcement may administer the test or tests subject to the provisions of this section
- To be warned by the officer requesting the test that refusing the test or submitting one with results indicating an alcohol concentration of more than 0.00% can lead to a loss of driving privileges
Loss of Driving Privileges
According to the Illinois Zero Tolerance Law, anyone under 21 years old who operates a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system may have their license to drive suspended.
An underage driver convicted of DUI may also face a revocation of their driver’s license that exceeds what an adult would otherwise receive. The suspension or revocation period will depend on the driver’s BAC, whether the minor received supervision or a conviction on their DUI and whether it was their first or second offense:
- First offense for Zero Tolerance with a BAC above 0.00% - License suspension for three months
- Second offense for Zero Tolerance with a BAC above 0.00% - – Suspended driver’s license for one year
- First offense for Zero Tolerance with a test refusal or a failure to complete the testing- License suspension for six months
- Second offense for Zero Tolerance with a test refusal or a failure to complete the testing- License suspension for two years
- First conviction for a DUI – Revoked driver’s license for a minimum of two years
- Second conviction for a DUI – Revoked driver’s license for a minimum of five years
If a driver under 21 years old has their license suspended for DUI, they must complete a driver remedial education course and pay all applicable reinstatement fees to the Secretary of State’s office before regaining driving privileges. They might also have to take a driver’s license examination for a reissued driver’s license.
Penalties for an Underage DUI Conviction in Illinois
In addition to a certain revocation of their license, the other potential consequences for an underage DUI conviction depend on multiple circumstances. Common factors contributing to the penalties include:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
- Prior DUI convictions
- Whether a car accident occurred
- Whether the driver refused to submit to a chemical test
Fines and Jail Time
Just like an adult, anyone under 21 convicted of DUI could face fines and imprisonment depending on whether it’s their first or second conviction:
- First conviction – Up to $2,500 in fines and no more than one year of imprisonment
- Second conviction – A maximum of a $2,500 fine and 240 hours of community service or a mandatory five-day imprisonment with a possible prison sentence of up to one year
Just like an adult, underage DUI can lead to a felony conviction if any of these aggravating factors exist:
- Third or subsequent DUI conviction
- A motor vehicle accident occurred, causing great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement
- Caused another person’s death
Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test
In Illinois, implied consent means a person gives their consent to a chemical test while driving. The driver can refuse if a police officer pulls someone over and requests a chemical test, but the driver may suffer a longer period of suspension as a result. Also, although in the past, law enforcement was not allowed to force someone to take chemical tests, there are now some circumstances in which a driver can be forced to do so, such as during “no refusal weekends” when the police may obtain a warrant from a judge to force the driver to submit to testing.
Common Defenses Against Underage DUI Charges
Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC will create a legal strategy to defend your child against the DUI charge. The strategy we use will depend on the circumstances of the case.
As Illinois state law requires law enforcement to have probable cause to believe an underage driver has some amount of alcohol in their system in order to request a chemical test after a traffic stop, we may sometimes be able to challenge the validity of the traffic stop and subsequent testing, if it can be shown that the officer didn’t have probable cause.
Another common defense against an underage DUI charge is whether the breathalyzer test results were accurate. The results may be unreliable if law enforcement didn’t calibrate the device correctly. Sometimes, health conditions, such as diabetes, can falsely indicate the presence of alcohol on a person's breath. We can review the test results and determine if we can file a motion to suppress it to prevent it from being used as evidence in your case.
Additional defenses commonly used in underage DUI cases include:
- Innocence – Your son or daughter might be innocent of the criminal charge. We will look for evidence to prove they did not drive under the influence and try to get the charges against them dropped.
- Duress – We could use the duress defense if your child’s actions were due to reasonable fear that they or another person would sustain immediate bodily injury or death. For example, someone threatened them with violence, so they drove off to avoid getting hurt.
- Involuntary intoxication – Even when there is alcohol in a person’s system, it is possible that they did not know they consumed alcohol or possibly someone spiked your child’s drink or lied about giving them a beverage containing alcohol.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Underage DUI Defense Attorney
Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC will aggressively defend your son or daughter against an underage DUI charge. We will determine an effective legal strategy to try to get the charges dropped or reduced. You can count on us to protect their rights and fight hard to try to reach the best possible outcome.