Illinois: Underage DUI

The drinking age in Illinois is 21 and consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal with the following exceptions:

  • on private, non alcohol-selling premises, with consent of a legal guardian   -- for example, with legal guardian’s permission at a party, or
  • for religious purposes  – for example, drinking wine with religious ceremony.

In Illinois, underage DUIs cause approximately 15% - 17% of the state’s drinking-impaired driving fatalities (though drivers under 21 only account for 10% of drivers). Because underage drinkers cause a disproportionate number of alcohol-related auto fatalities, the standards are stricter and the penalties may be harsher for those under 21.  

More information about Illinois’s teen driving requirements.

What constitutes driving under the influence?

Illinois is a zero-tolerance state. If a chemical test determines that an under-21 driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 00.00%, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence.

What are the penalties?

If First Drunk Driving Conviction: If BAC above 00.00% but below .08%   - 3-month license suspension. If more than .08% (or more than .05 with additional evidence proving impairment) - minimum 2-year license suspension. imprisonment (up to 1 year), maximum fine ($2,500). (More information:  First Offense DUI in Illinois).

If Second Drunk Driving Conviction within 5 Years: If under-21 and if BAC above 00.00% but below .08% - 1-year license suspension. If more than .08% (or more than .05 with additional evidence proving impairment) - minimum 2-year license suspension,  imprisonment (minimum 5 days up to 1 year jail) maximum fine ($2,500). (More Information:  Second Offense DUI in Illinois.)

What if you refuse the chemical test? First violation — 6-month suspension of driving privileges for refusal or failure to complete a BAC test. Second violation — 2-year suspension of driving privileges for refusal or failure to complete a BAC test.  Read about Illinois implied consent laws.

 What other charges?

In addition to driving under the influence, an underage drinker may be charged with any of the following:

  • distributing alcohol to other minors (were there underage drunk passengers?),
  • minor in possession,
  • soliciting alcohol,
  • child endangerment law violations,
  • possession of false identification (was a fake id used to purchase alcohol?), and
  • moving and vehicle maintenance violations (what else did the arresting officer see?).  

What happens to insurance?

Some insurance companies may terminate a policy after an underage DUI (while others refuse to renew). Most companies simply raise the cost of the monthly premium by $100 to $200 (sometimes higher) for a higher risk policy. The raise usually stays in place for three to five years. You’ll also probably need to furnish the DMV with an SR-22 certificate to reinstate a license after suspension (as proof of insurability). Most insurance companies furnish this form to the DMV. Check with your insurer to see if it performs this service.

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