Since 1984, federal law has required all 50 states to implement a drinking age of 21. Failure to do so results in a loss of federal highway funds. A recent newspaper article discusses proposed actions in the state of Virginia regarding alcohol possession by those under the age of 21. These laws, like those of many other states, go far beyond what the 1984 law requires.
Because laws in this regard vary from state to state, you should consult an Illinois DUI lawyer if you or anyone you know who is under the age of 21 receives any type of drinking ticket. In addition, even if you do not receive a ticket but have a driver’s license or ID confiscated from you, your driving privileges are in jeopardy.
This state has a Zero Tolerance Law Under that law, if you are under the age of 21 and are stopped for a traffic violation and the officer has reason to believe you have been drinking, the officer may demand that you take a breath or blood test.
If that test shows an alcohol level above zero, your driver’s license will be suspended for 3 months if this is your first zero tolerance offense. If you refuse to take the test and this is your first zero tolerance offense, the Secretary of State will suspend your license for 12 months. If you are a repeat zero tolerance offender, your license will be suspended for 6 months if you fail the test and 2 years if you refuse to take the test.
Illegal transportation of alcohol (open container in the vehicle) is a violation of the law regardless of the driver’s age. However, if you are under 21 and are convicted of illegal transportation, your license will be suspended for 12 months for a first conviction, and it will be revoked upon a second conviction.
In Illinois, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is illegal for any driver. The normal period of a driver’s license revocation for a first time DUI conviction is one year. However, if you are under 21 and are convicted of an Illinois DUI for the first time, your driver’s license will be revoked for 2 years. During the first year of the revocation, you cannot drive for any reason, not even for work or school.
If you receive a ticket for under aged drinking (such as illegal possession or consumption of alcohol), your license will be suspended for 3 months if you receive court supervision and 6 months if you are convicted of the ticket. This will happen even if you were nowhere near a motor vehicle and you had neither driven nor intended to do so.
Your license will be suspended for 12 months if you are caught with a fake ID. Note that this 12-month suspension will apply even if you were not drinking, were not in a bar and did not use the ID. Furthermore, the suspension can happen despite the fact that you did not receive a ticket of any sort.