In Illinois, consumption and possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age is illegal, subject to a few exceptions. A person who is younger than 21 and drives a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs is subject to a license suspension and can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), as well as other crimes and violations.
This article discusses the laws and penalties associated with a DUI offense committed in Illinois by a person under the age of 21.
Under Illinois’s zero-tolerance law, all drivers under 21 years old must consent to chemical testing of breath, blood, urine, and/or another bodily substance if an officer has probable cause to believe the driver has consumed any amount of alcohol.
Zero-tolerance suspension. An underage driver who fails or refuses to take a chemical test will face a zero-tolerance license suspension. For these underage drivers, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .00% is considered a failed test.
If an underage driver’s BAC is more than .00% and less than .08%, the suspension periods are:
An underage driver who refuses to submit to chemical testing is subject to the following suspension periods:
A driver who’s under 18 years of age must participate in a driver’s education course and retake a driving test to be reissued a license after a zero-tolerance suspension.
Restrictive Driving Permit. A person under 21 years old who’s subject to a zero-tolerance suspension can obtain a restrictive driving permit (RDP) after:
An RDP allows an offender to drive for employment, school, and medical appointments.
Statutory summary suspension. An underage driver is subject to a statutory summary suspension if a chemical test discloses:
An underage offender who doesn’t have a prior DUI conviction or statutory summary suspension within the last five years is subject to the following suspension periods:
If an underage motorist has a prior DUI conviction or statutory summary suspension within the last five years, the suspension periods are:
Monitoring device driving permit. Generally, an underage offender whose driving privileges have been summarily suspended will be issued a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP). However, drivers aren’t eligible for the permit if the offender:
If convicted of DUI in court, underage offenders generally face special penalties, in addition to the standard penalties imposed for adult offenders.
Jail, fines, and community service. A first DUI conviction is typically a class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of:
If the defendant had a passenger under the age of 16 years in the vehicle, the court can impose:
If the defendant’s BAC was .16% or more, the minimum sentence is:
License suspension. In addition to the zero-tolerance and statutory summary suspensions discussed above, a person under 21 years will face a license suspension of two years. Any time the offender’s license was administratively suspended is credited towards the two-year suspension.
After one year of the suspension, an offender can apply for an RDP, which allows driving between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. for a period of one year. The Secretary of State can reinstate the offender’s license after the offender holds the RDP for one year or extend the RDP by additional periods of not more than 24 months each.
Youthful Intoxicated Drivers’ Visitation Program. The court can order a person who was under 21 years at the time of the offense to participate in the Youthful Intoxicated Drivers’ Visitation Program. The program consists of a supervised visit to one of the following facilities:
Alcohol/drug evaluation, treatment, and VIP. All DUI offenders must complete an alcohol/drug evaluation and any recommended treatment. Offenders are also required to attend a victim impact panel (VIP) and pay for the costs associated with the evaluation, treatment, and VIP.