Articles Posted in Youthful Offenders

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Under Illinois law, a licensed driver under the age of 21 (hereinafter “youthful offender”; “minor” is not the correct term because the age of majority in Illinois is 21) faces additional issues when alcohol or drug use enters the legal system.

Starting with the offense of Driving Under the Influence (also known as DUI, DWI or drunk driving), any driver who is arrested for DUI will be asked to submit to a chemical test (either breath or alcohol) to determine the Blood Alcohol Level (BAL). The results of the test are admissible to prove the offense of DUI with a BAL of .08 or higher. (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2)

This type of DUI does not require proof of intoxication. The act of operating a vehicle with an excessive BAL is in and of itself a crime. (625 ILCS 5/11-501) However, as a practical matter, a jury may be reluctant to convict a driver of DUI when, other than the BAL reading, the driver appears to be sober.

This argument does not help a youthful offender. They are subject to the “zero tolerance” (ZT) law. The ZT law provides that a youthful offender who has an alcohol reading above zero is in automatic violation of the ZT law. The state need not present evidence that the driver was impaired. Or that the driver’s BAC was a specific level as long as it is above zero.

And the youthful offender does not have a right to contest the ticket in court. This can only occur in a hearing with the Secretary of State in which the issues are extremely narrow:

(1) whether the police officer had probable cause to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle
(2) whether the person was issued a Uniform Traffic Ticket
(3) whether the police officer had probable cause to believe that the driver had consumed any amount of an alcoholic beverage
(4) whether the person refused or if not a refusal, whether the person registered above 0.00 (625 ILCS 11-501.8)

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There are numerous means by which a person under the age of 21 (youthful drivers) is acting against the Illinois Vehicle. 625 ILCS Chapters 2-6 and 11 contain the statutory law relating to Driving Under the Influences offenses in Illinois. Many of the Illinois traffic laws are written in broad terms and the discretion for enforcing them is vested in the Illinois Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/2-101; People v. Pine, 129 Ill. 2d 88, 542 N.E.2d 711, 134 Ill. Dec. 365 (1989)

The Secretary of State has implemented administrative rules to carry out his statutory mandate. 92 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC), Parts 1000, 1001, 1030, 1040 Although the Secretary of State has broad discretion, the rules he promulgates may not exceed his statutory mandate. Franz v. Edgar (1985), 133 Ill.App.3d 513, 88 Ill.Dec. 557, 478 N.E.2d 1165, appeal denied, 108 Ill.2d (31).

You must first look to the Illinois Vehicle Code to determine if a certain action related to the safe operation of motor vehicles is legal. No driver may transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor within the passenger area of any motor vehicle upon a highway in this State except in the original container and with the seal unbroken. 625 ILCS 5/11-502 This is commonly referred to as illegal transportation of alcohol or “open container”.

Upon determining that an act is illegal, you must next look to the statutes and rules to discern the penalties and driver’s license sanctions. The Illinois Vehicle Code provides that a youthful offender who is convicted of illegal transportation may, at the discretion of the Secretary of State, suffer a driver’s license suspension. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(33)

The Vehicle Code does not make the suspension automatic or indicate for how long it will be. For the answer to this, you must refer to the Administrative Code. 92 IAC §1040.43 a) provides that the Secretary “shall”(mandatory) suspend for 12 months.

On the other hand, the Vehicle Code is specific with regards to a second conviction. A second conviction while under the age of 21 is a mandatory revocation as provided by statute. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(a)(13)

A youthful offender may also be suspended for a conviction due to a violation of Liquor Control Act of 1934 or similar local ordinance. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(38). Again, the Vehicle Code has no specific requirement that the Secretary of State must suspend for a conviction. But the IAC does. 92 IAC §1040.34 a) 9)

By contrast, the Vehicle Code requires a 3-month suspension, no more, no less, if you receive supervision for a violation of the Liquor Control Act of 1934. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(43) A 12-month suspension for such a violation is excessive. Webb v. White, 364 Ill. App. 3d 650, 850 N.E.2d 233, 302 Ill. Dec. 796 (4th Dist.2006)

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There are criminal and administrative sanctions in Illinois for alcohol-related arrests. Criminal consequences of an Illinois DUI refer to jail, fines, probation, Victim Impact panel, alcohol assessment and classes and community service.

Administrative sanctions involve your driver’s license, which can be suspended or revoked, or both, as a result of alcohol issues, some of which do not even require that you be driving if you are under the age of 21. For a DUI arrest, a Statutory Summary Suspension (SSS) of your driver’s license can occur.

The SSS applies if you are asked to provide a breath or blood sample and register above the level limit of .08, or refuse to take a test. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 The length of the suspension varies, depending upon whether you submitted to, or refused testing, and upon whether you have had a DUI arrest during the previous five years.

If there is no arrest in the last five years, you are considered a “first offender” for SSS purposes. 625 ILCS 5/11-500. A first offender who agrees to testing will be suspended for six months if the blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. A first offender who refuses will be suspended for twelve months.

After 30 days, any first offender is eligible to request a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1; 206.1 If a first offender is convicted of the DUI, he is eligible to request a hearing with the Illinois Secretary for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) provided he can demonstrate that lack of driving privileges has created an undue hardship.

A non-first offender (a DUI within the previous five years) will be suspended for one year if there is a test and three years if there is not. He is eligible for neither an MDDP nor an RDP. He cannot drive at all, even for limited purposes.

If you are under 21, you can lose your driver’s license even if you are not guilty of DUI. This is the “zero tolerance” law. If the police stop you for a traffic violation and issue you a citation and suspect you have been drinking, they can ask you to give breath or blood simples.

If you register above zero, your license will be suspended for three months. If you do not give a test, it will be suspended for six months. The penalties increase if this is not your first offense. It’s one year if you test and two years if you refuse. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.8; 625 ILCS 5/6-208.2
As someone under 21, you can lose your driver’s license if you receive a “drinking ticket”. This offense is also called minor in possession, illegal consumption, under aged drinking and alcohol by a minor, among other names.

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A 15-year old boy was arrested in Mt. Prospect, a Cook County town, for DUI and driving without a license. The minimum legal driving age in Illinois is 16 years, although 9 months before his 16th birthday, a child enrolled in a driver’s education course may obtain a learner’s permit. 625 ILCS 5/107.

Prior to receiving a license at the age of 16, a student must undergo 50 hours of behind-the-wheel-training (at least 10 of which must be at night) accompanied by a licensed driver who is a parent, guardian, or family member at least 21 years old with at least one year of driving experience. 625 ILCS 5/6-107.1(a)(1) The trainer must be seated in the front of the vehicle.

The permit is only valid during certain hours of the day. A local curfew that restricts the hours further may apply 625 ILCS 5/6-107.1(b)

These same restrictions apply to a fully licensed driver under the age of 18. 625 ILCS 5/6-110(a-1) Exceptions to the curfew apply when a parent or guardian is in the car, when running an errand for a parent or guardian, going to or from work, when engaged in interstate travel, and when traveling to and from school provided there are no detours.

If a driver under the age of 18 years is convicted of DUI or any other offense that would cause a driver’s license revocation, that person may not obtain a license any earlier than age 18. Other offenses that will prevent the driver from obtaining a license before the age of 18 include a conviction for operating a motor vehicle at a time the person does not hold a valid driver’s license and a conviction for a drug offense while in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. 625 ILCS 5/6-107(c)

A driver who commits a DUI offense while under the age of 21 and who is subsequently convicted of DUI will receive a two year driver’s license revocation. Under no circumstances may he apply for any type of driving relief for the first year of the revocation. In the second year, he may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) in order to relieve undue hardship. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(d)(1)

Under the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) program, a driver whose license is suspended due to not taking a breath or blood test to determine alcohol concentration, or taking the test and registering over .08, may drive during the period of the suspension provided he agrees to install an interlock device in the vehicle he operates. 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1 This device makes it impossible to start the car without blowing into a tube that measures blood alcohol concentrations.

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Anyone who has completed a driver’s education course may obtain a driver’s license at age 16. 625 ILCS 5/6-107(b) For those between the ages of 16 and 21 (“youthful drivers”) there is an array of special laws that can, if violated, cause a loss of a driver’s license. In addition, those between the ages of 16 and 17 fall under the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) requirements.

In Illinois, the age at which you are legal to consume, possess or purchase alcohol is 21 years, in accordance with the Liquor Control Act of 1934 (235 ILCS 5/6-16), even though for virtually all other purposes, you are considered an adult at the age of 18. A driver, as well as a passenger under the age of 21 can be charged with such a violation.

Whether you are driving, riding, walking, or standing, your driver’s license is in jeopardy if you are charged with a drinking ticket. In accordance with 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(43), if you receive court supervision for such a charge, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 3 months.

During that suspension period, you may apply for a restricted driving permit (RDP) with the Illinois Secretary of State. If you are convicted of the charge, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(38); 92 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) §1040.32 a)9) and you may apply for an RDP.

If you are found in possession of a driver’s license or ID card not issued to you, your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(10); 92 IAC §1040.32 a)3 Note that this can occur even though you are not driving, even though you are not drinking at the time, even though you are not attempting to enter, have entered or are leaving a bar, even though you have never used the ID and even though you did not receive a ticket. Freed v. Ryan, 301 Ill.App.3d 952; 704 N.E.2d 746 (1st Dist. 1998)

Once the police confiscate the fake ID, they will send it to the Secretary of State. That will set the wheels in motion for a 12-month suspension. You can apply for an RDP.

Another situation and one that the law considers to be more serious, is a manufactured license or ID. Unlike the situation above, in which you are found in possession of a real license or ID that belongs to someone else, a manufactured ID is completely fictitious, typically purchase over the Internet.

This is a violation of 6-301, 6-301.1 or 6-301.2 or Section 14, 14A or 14B of the Illinois Identification Card Act. Until June 2011, this cause a 12-month revocation of your driver’s license, which could only be reinstated at a Secretary of State driver’s license hearing. Now it causes a 12-month suspension, with automatic reinstatement upon payment of a fee. 92 IAC §1040.32 a)5)A-C)

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