Frequently Asked Questions: Obtaining a DUI if You Are Under 21

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Obtaining a DUI charge at any age can be a challenging experience. However, for someone who is not yet of legal age, it can be especially scary. This is primarily because states have a zero tolerance policy in place for underage drivers. This means that even with the smallest of alcohol in the system, a DUI charge is likely to follow if an underage driver is pulled over. One poor decision has the possibility of leaving a young person with a variety of consequences that can have a long term impact. If you are a driver under the age of 21 who was pulled over and charged with a DUI, you will want to have a DUI lawyer for legal guidance, and to help answer the number of questions you may have. 

Can I get a DUI if I am not of legal age to drink?

Yes, if you operate a vehicle, and are under the age of 21, you can obtain a DUI even if you are not of legal drinking age. This is because it is illegal to consume alcohol and operate a motor vehicle if you are under the age of 21. 

What is an underage DUI or a minor DUI?

Underage DUIs or minor DUIs are the terms often referred to for drivers who are under the age of 21 and driving under the influence of alcohol. 

What is the legal limit for someone who is driving under the influence and is under the age of 21?

It’s a proven fact that a person of a young age has a higher likelihood for being involved in a fatal car crash if they are operating a vehicle while under the influence. Because of this, all 50 states have adopted a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Even if a driver under the age of 21 has only had a glass of wine or beer, they can still be charged with a minor DUI. The BAC can range based on the state where you live ranging from .00% to .02%. However, it’s important to note that even if your BAC is .00% and an officer suspects that you are under the influence, you can still be charged with a DUI. 

What penalties might I face if I am charged with a DUI and am not of legal age to drink?

Penalties for drivers under the age of 21 can face significant penalties, especially if they are over the age of 18. While consequences can vary based upon the state where you reside, common penalties can include:

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Loss of License
  • Community Service
  • Jail Time
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Were you recently charged with a DUI? Are you between the ages of 18-21 and unsure of where to turn or what to do next? With your whole life ahead of you, the last thing any person should contend with is the possibility of a DUI conviction at such a young age. It’s important that you provide yourself at every opportunity of the legal guidance that you deserve by retaining an experienced Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer to help. 

Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into criminal law and DUI charges when you’re under 21.