What Happens When an Individual Under 21 is Charged with DUI?
Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Because drunk drivers are a hazard to themselves and all others on the road, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Doing so can result in a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
The Driver’s BAC at the Time of His or Her Arrest Matters
For an individual age 21 or older, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. For individuals under 21, the legal limit is 0.00 percent. In other words, having any alcohol in his or her system during a traffic stop can lead to a DUI charge for an underage individual.
Whether the underage individual’s BAC was over 0.08 at the time of his or her arrest matters. An individual with a BAC above 0.00 percent but below 0.08 percent faces a three-month driver’s license suspension for his or her first charge. For a second charge of this nature, the driver faces a one-year driver’s license suspension.
If the driver’s BAC was above 0.08 percent or over 0.05 percent and he or she showed signs of impairment, he or she faces a minimum driver’s license suspension period of two years, up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500 for a first-time conviction. For a second conviction, the individual faces up to one year and five days in jail, a driver’s license suspension of at least two years, and a fine of up to $2,500.
Underage drivers who are charged with DUI can also see penalties from their automobile insurance providers. A provider might cancel the driver’s policy or refuse to renew it after the DUI charge. The insurance provider can also raise the driver’s monthly premium because with a DUI on his or her record, he or she is considered to be a greater liability.
Other Charges Related to Underage Alcohol Consumption
DUI is not the only alcohol-related charge an individual under 21 can face. It is illegal for an underage individual to purchase and consume alcohol under most circumstances, with consumption as part of religious rituals and on private property with a parent’s permission as notable exceptions.
Alcohol charges a minor can face include:
- Possession of alcohol;
- Soliciting alcohol;
- Distributing alcohol to minors; and
- Possession of false identification for the purpose of purchasing alcohol.
It is also illegal for an adult to knowingly sell or serve alcohol to a minor.
Work with an Experienced Naperville DUI Lawyer
If you are under 21 and facing a DUI charge or if you are the parent of a minor charged with DUI, be proactive and start working on a legal defense strategy to fight the charge with an experienced Naperville DUI lawyer. Contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.