What Is The Legal Limit for Drivers Under 21?

Ask any adult (and most teens) what the legal limit is for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and operating a vehicle, and you will get “.08” as an answer.

.08 was drilled into our heads through driver’s education instructors and public service announcements since it became the predominant BAC limit in the United States in the 1990s.

The legal drinking age being 21 while the legal driving age is 16 creates the opportunity for misinformation and confusion. Drivers under the age of 21 do not have the luxury of staying under .08 to avoid legal consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit for drivers under 21 in Illinois is zero, as in “zero-tolerance suspension”.

“What is a zero-tolerance suspension?”

Under Illinois law, a driver under the age of 21 will have their driver’s license suspended if they drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. A zero-tolerance suspension will last for a minimum of three months before the driver can pursue reinstatement.

Drivers who suffer a zero-tolerance suspension must complete a driver remedial education course as a bare minimum for getting their license reinstated. They may also need to retake their driver’s license exam.

The bottom line is that .08 is meaningless if you are below the legal drinking age. The legal limit for drivers under 21 in Illinois is zero. If you or your underage child is on the wrong side of a zero-tolerance suspension, it is essential to seek the advice of an experienced DUI defense lawyer.