In Illinois, the law considers non-commercial drivers legally drunk when their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. However, this rule only applies to drivers aged 21 and up.
If you are under 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in your system can result in DUI charges that carry severe penalties.
Underage possession and consumption of alcohol
It is illegal to have or drink alcohol if you are under 21 in Illinois. You can face misdemeanor criminal charges for these activities regardless of whether you are driving or not. Penalties for underage possession include:
- Jail sentence up to one year
- Fines up to $2,500
- Driver’s license suspension of 3 to 12 months
- Court supervision or probation
- Alcohol treatment or education program
- Community service
Underage DUI charges
Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy regarding underage driving after consuming alcohol, meaning you lose your driving privileges if you have any trace of alcohol in your system. Drinking just one beer can lead to a three-month suspension of your license, and refusal to take a BAC test can result in a six-month suspension. If your blood alcohol level is over 0.08 percent, you can face two-year license revocation, up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year of jail time.
An underage possession, consumption or DUI conviction can affect your future, education, job and more. Understanding the laws in Illinois, analyzing the circumstances of your case and knowing your defense options is vital to protect you from significant penalties and potentially life-long consequences.