Statistically speaking, forty percent of Americans are likely to be involved in some alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. Amongst these tragic automobile accidents, a large chunk is contributed by underage drunk drivers. In an attempt to take a proactive approach to curb these often fatal auto accidents and rein in the climbing statistics, DUI laws were introduced. All fifty states currently have laws that categorize driving with a high blood and alcohol concentration level as a crime.
Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI in Illinois
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the act of operating a vehicle of conveyance while having an excessive amount of alcohol or other controlled substance present in the body. DUIs can also refer to drivers who fail to perform due to excessive sleepiness cell phone use or have a medical condition that can negatively impact the individual’s driving ability. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above is an offense. For drivers under the age of twenty-one, the BAC percentage is much lower than .08% and is punishable by law. For these young drivers, BAC levels of even .03%, .02%, or .01% can prove to be a cause of misdemeanor of offense.
A driver of a commercial vehicle is considered legally drunk in Illinois when their blood alcohol level is .04% or above. Drivers under the age of twenty-one can face conviction at a blood alcohol level of more than 0%.
The state of Illinois is strongly invested in discouraging citizens from driving under the influence. Illinois ranks at 19th in the list of toughest DUI laws in the USA. It maintains a zero-tolerance policy; any driver under the age of twenty-one caught driving with even a slight trace of alcohol in their system can be indicted for driving under the influence.
Legal Ramifications for underage DUI
In case it’s a first DUI for the underage convict, the legal ramifications can range from loss of driving privileges for a minimum of two years, a fine of up to $2500, and even though it’s avoidable in plenty of cases, possible imprisonment.
If the underage person is charged with a second DUI, the legal consequences for him/her become progressively dire. A second underage DUI will result in forty-eight hours of mandatory jail time and/or community service, loss of driving privileges for a minimum of three years, and possible imprisonment for up to a year.
A third underage DUI is categorized as a class 4 felony. The convicts are charged with a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment for up to 3 years maximum, and the termination of driving privileges for six years or more.
Legal ramifications from DUIs can wreak short term as well as long term havoc in your personal life, education as well as career.
Other Consequences of Getting An Underage DUI
Most colleges and universities require you to disclose if you have been criminally charged. Convictions for misdemeanors are considered criminal, while infractions and administrative offenses are usually not. In case of having previously been convicted for a DUI, you need to check if it’s considered a crime in your state. It may not be cause for disqualification from a college or university, but it will be among factors that colleges consider when making a decision and can very much disfavor your admission.
University students often apply for federal or state financial aid. All states have their own set of criteria when assessing for financial aid eligibility. Whether your underage DUI conviction would affect your eligibility for state financial aid depends solely on your state’s rules.
College going students that are charged with DUIs often have their case reported to the college administration by the police. This can result in measures being taken to discipline the students through consequences like formal warnings, termination of financial aid, and if you live on campus, then a loss of residence.
It is a common practice by employers to conduct a background check before they hire someone. An underage DUI conviction that falls within criminal offenses will definitely show on the record. Although it is improbable that an underage DUI would disqualify you from getting employed, particularly if it transpired years ago, but it falls short when faced with competition from a candidate with a clean record.
Following a DUI conviction, you may face estrangement from your family members and peers. People who have previously had tragic repercussions at the hands of a drunk driver may start regarding you in a colder manner, and you may have to come face to face with being treated as a careless and irresponsible individual by your family, friends, and coworkers. Driving under the influence is not just a threat to yourself but also to people around you, which is why it can earn stark disapproval from your loved ones as well as others. The best thing to do is to build their trust in you again through attending rehabilitation programs and being extra responsible with your driving once you are given your driving privileges back
Hire a DUI Lawyer
If ever confronted with the charge of underage DUI, the first thing to do is to get legal help. Get in touch with a qualified lawyer and appoint him/her as your attorney. It is of utmost importance that you communicate to your attorney all your apprehension of how the DUI may affect your college application, financial aid, or career opportunities. It is imperative to get the charges minimized in order to curb the damage to your criminal record. Our Naperville DUI defense lawyers have the knowledge and experience to handle your case and ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation.