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zero tolerance, underage DUI, Illinois criminal defense attornyAs the school year draws to a close, young people across the country look forward to spring and summer seasons. Graduation parties, holiday picnics, and simply spending time with friends offer many teens a well-deserved break from the stress of school. Many teens, however, will choose to celebrate with alcohol, which can not only be dangerous, but is also illegal in Illinois. Some, after drinking, will get behind the wheel of a car, putting them at increased risk of injury and prosecution under the state’s Zero Tolerance Law.

Zero Tolerance and DUI

The Illinois Zero Tolerance Law makes it illegal for an individual under the age 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in his or her system. A person caught driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of greater than 0.00 percent may be charged under the state's Zero Tolerance provisions. A first offense will result in a three month suspension of driving privileges, and a subsequent offense carries a one-year suspension. Refusal to submit to BAC testing can result in the penalties and suspensions being doubled.

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underage drinking, Good Samaritan 911, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyThe beginning of April marks the start of Alcohol Awareness Month, meant to be an initiative to increase education about the effects and potential dangers of alcohol abuse. While alcohol abuse can affect people of any age, recent research suggests that underage drinking, and specifically, underage binge drinking is on the rise throughout Illinois. Experts may point to a number of long-term dangers related to teen alcohol use, but for many, a single incident of overdrinking can be extremely serious or even fatal. To that end, the Illinois Senate is now considering legislation drafted to encourage young people to seek medical help for someone who has had too much to drink.

Similar to a law enacted in Illinois in 2012 regarding heroin and other drug use, and other laws around the country, the measure has been referred to as a Good Samaritan 911 law. The proposed law would pardon underage drinkers who call 911 to help another in danger from alcohol related issues. The 2012 Illinois legislation offers the same protection for drug-related situations but does not include alcohol or underage drinking amnesty.

Help vs. Fear

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