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The Penalties of Driving Under the Influence with a Child Passenger

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Illinois DUI defense lawyersDriving under the influence is considered a crime in the state of Illinois, and it carries heavy penalties for anyone who is convicted. When a minor passenger is involved, those consequences can become even greater. Learn more about the penalties of driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle, and discover how a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can help to improve the outcome in your Illinois drunk driving case.

What Classifies as a Child Passenger?

Illinois state law defines a minor as any child under the age of 16. As such, any child that is 15 or younger can lead to elevated charges in a DUI case. It is important to also note that the driver's relationship to the child is irrelevant in such cases. Instead, only the child's age is considered.

DUI Charges for Drivers with Child Passengers

Drivers who have a responsibility to safely transport children (i.e. school bus drivers) are held to a much higher standard than other drivers, so they may face penalties for any amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. For all other drivers, charges do not typically occur unless the driver registered with a BAC of 0.08 or more. However, it is important for drivers to keep in mind that there are still scenarios in which a charge may occur, even at a BAC that is lower than 0.08. For example, a driver that is under the legal drinking age (under the age of 21) can be charged with a DUI for a BAC that registers at 0.04 or higher.

DUIs with Minor Passengers Result in Elevated Charges and Consequences

The state of Illinois can convict even first-time DUI offenders with a Class A misdemeanor, which typically results in a suspension of one's driving privileges for at least one year. If a minor passenger was present at the time of arrest, that charge may also include up to a 6-month jail-term, a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, and up to 25 days of community service. If the arrest involved a crash in which a minor passenger was injured, the charge may be elevated to an Aggravated DUI (a Class 4 felony). Convicted individuals may face a loss of their driving privileges for ups to two years, jail time, a fine of $2,500, and 25 days of community service. Subsequent convictions involving minor passengers may be elevated to a felony, as may any accident involving the death of a child passenger.

Contact Our Joliet DUI Defense Lawyers for Aggressive Legal Representation

If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge involving a minor passenger, it is critical that you seek seasoned and aggressive legal assistance. With more than 60 years of experience in the Joliet and Plainfield areas, the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. are the ones to call. Schedule your free initial consultation with our Will County DUI defense lawyers by calling 815-666-1285 today.


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